“Girl Most Likely” by Max Allan Collins is more of a police procedural than a thriller. What makes this plot unique is the relationships. In this book, the police chief is the daughter and she enlists her father’s help to find a killer.
Krista Larson has recently lost her mother. She is worried about her father, Keith, who appears suicidal from his grief. Deciding a change of environment is best for him, Krista moves him in with her to a small town in Illinois. Galena is in northwestern Illinois that is close to Dubuque and not too far from Chicago. It is the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant.
While trying to make her father feel at home she is also preparing the town for a 10-year high school reunion, where she is one of the participants. The occasion is marred when Krista learns that a classmate, Sue Logan, was stabbed to death at her home in Florida some months earlier. As the reunion weekend kicks off, a second, similar murder occurs in the small town of Galena.
Knowing she needs her father’s expertise, Krista has Keith working as a pro bono consultant. They are following leads, questioning those attending the reunion, and opening long-locked doors from their hometown to the Florida suburbs to Chicago’s underworld.
“It came to mind after I attended a class reunion years ago,” Collins said. “What I observed had me thinking. Everyone is about the same age, shared the same pop cultures, shared some of the same experiences, and at the time they were the important people in someone’s life. These high school memories can cling to someone, both good and bad. I go to see friends. I enjoy reunions. My wife, Barbara and I lived in the same small town in Iowa so we go together. Since we are both writers we love to watch and observe.”
Collins plays off the father and daughter team. Keith is the junior individual in the detective process but the senior in the family relationship. Besides the dynamic between father and daughter the story provides detailed tidbits about small-town life and a small-town police force.