Police Chief Krista Larson is the ‘Girl Most Likely’ to Catch a Killer [REVIEW]

Crime scene tape

A high school reunion turns deadly when a killer starts silencing students from the class of 2009 in Max Allan Collins’ Girl Most Likely. (Photo by Tex Texin, Flickr)

The nation’s youngest female police chief. A retired detective. One of Chicago’s top investigative reporters. When the three of them are reunited at a high school class reunion, they have no idea a killer lurks among them. But who is killing classmates and why? Find out in Max Allan Collins’ new thriller, Girl Most Likely. 

Max Allan Collins' GIRL MOST LIKELY

Thomas and Mercer

Galena, Illinois is the kind of sleepy Midwest town where everyone knows their neighbors and bad things seldom happen. It is also where 28-year-old Krista Larson is making her mark as the country’s youngest police chief. Her success isn’t really all that surprising, however, given that her father, decorated former detective Keith Larson, taught her everything he knows.

A graduate of Galena High School’s 2009 class, Krista and her classmates have been looking forward to their 10 year reunion. After all, it’s being held at Lake View Lodge, a swanky resort nestled in one of the area’s most scenic spots.

But on the night of the big party, as out-of-towners and locals mingle once more, old grudges and resentments spread like wildfire. At the center of all that bitterness is Astrid Lund, the bombshell reporter who was voted the “Girl Most Likely to Succeed.” On the morning following the big event, her body is discovered and soon a triple murder investigation is under way.

Krista enlists her father’s help as they follow leads and uncover a trail of secrets and scandals from their hometown to the Florida suburbs and the Chicago underworld. What neither of them expect to discover, however, is that the trail will lead right to their own front door.

Girl Most Likely is the first time I’ve read any of Collins’ work, although like many I am familiar with the films based on his stories. Still, I am pleasantly surprised to learn that he is a stellar writer, one who engages his readers from the very first page as he introduces us to characters who are both charming and multi-layered. Since this is the author’s introduction to a new character, it may seem like the story is a little slow finding its footing, but that isn’t the case at all. He is simply laying the groundwork to an ambitious series and nuanced cast that both captivates and entertains.

Collins also knows his way around mystery writing. He knows how to raise our suspicions as we meet all the many classmates in town for the reunion. He drops red herrings in all the right places, and he keeps us turning pages even when our eyes beg us to go to sleep. He also builds relationships between his characters which propel the story and fuel our imaginations as we try to figure out who has something to hide, and which character will catch on to those secrets first. Best of all, I love the relationship between Krista and her dad, because unlike many parent-child relationships in modern fiction, it is one that deep and respectful and ultimately proves to be the bedrock of the story’s investigation.

If you are looking for a novel populated by characters who quickly feel like old friends placed in a setting that is somehow familiar yet intriguing, you can’t go wrong with Girl Most Likely. It is a mystery that hits all the right notes and makes me eager to see what happens to Krista next.

And since this is published by Amazon, maybe their studio execs will realize that this could make for a great television series on Prime Video too. (Hint, hint.)

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Max Allan Collins

Max Allan Collins


Max Allan Collins was named a Grand Master in 2017 by the Mystery Writers of America. He has earned an unprecedented 23 Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award nominations, winning two for his Nathan Heller novels. That series also earned Collins the PWA Hammer Award for making a major contribution to the private-eye genre. He receive the PWA Eye Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. His other books include the New York Times bestseller Saving Private Ryan and the USA Today bestselling CSI series.

His graphic novel Road to Perdition is the basis of the Academy Award-winning Tom Hanks film, and is followed by two acclaimed prose sequels and several more graphic novels in the same series. His other comics credits include the syndicated strip Dick Tracy, Wild Dog, Batman, and his own Ms. Tree.

Collins is also a screenwriter, playwright, and a leading indie filmmaker in his native Iowa, where he lives with his wife, writer Barbara Collins; as “Barbara Allen,” they have collaborated on 14 novels. For more information, visit MaxAllanCollins.com, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

By Max Allan Collins
304 pp. Thomas & Mercer. $15.95

Purchase Girl Most Likely at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Police Chief Krista Larson is the ‘Girl Most Likely’ to Catch a Killer [REVIEW]

  1. macphilms says:

    Thank you for this lovely review. This kind of response is very gratifying. I just delivered the sequel, by the way!

    • Jathan Fink says:

      Thanks so much for writing, and you’re welcome for the review. Honestly, I couldn’t put the book down and I can’t wait to visit Galena PD again. Looking forward to reading the sequel. What’s it called?

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