Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood
In 1948, 11-year-old Sally Horner is trying to fit in with a group of girls at school. The mission seems easy enough, she must accompany them to Woolworth's and shoplift an item. If she does that, she's in. Things go horribly wrong. She's caught by a man claiming to be an FBI agent. He tells her he must take her to a nearby city to appear in front of a judge. She goes along fearing she could go to jail.
Sally has no idea that Frank LaSalle is actually just out of prison after serving time for kidnapping and raping another young girl. One that he forced into becoming his wife to avoid charges.
Months and years go by. Sally's widowed mother starts to lose hope that she'll ever see her daughter again. Sally fears she'll never escape the torture Frank puts her through. All they can hope for is a miracle.
Rust & Stardust: A Novel is based on the true story of Sally Horner. Her story was the inspiration behind the novel Lolita. It's also the premise of this novel. The author states the novel is fictional, but there's enough truth to the story that it often feels like a true crime novel.
I'd never heard of the case, and it's heartbreaking. I can't imagine all that young girl endured. It's simply tragic. I kept reading, afraid to stop until I knew what happened to her. I'd even missed that it was based on a true story until the end, that just made me even sadder.
If you are a fan of true crime or real mystery books and shows, don't miss this one. It had me hooked.