Rain Girl, a Suspense Thriller by Gabi Kreslehner

Veteran homicide detective Franza Oberwieser prefers her job in the winter. Summer is for growing, not for dying. So when the body of a beautiful young woman is found on the autobahn, dressed in a glittering party dress and bathed in June rain, Franza is determined to give her justice.

Revealing victims’ hidden lives is part of the job, but as Franza and her partner, Felix, peel back the layers shrouding the girl’s disturbing past, darker mysteries emerge. Everyone has something to hide—even Franza, who must face her own secrets to reveal the truth.

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How on earth do people work as cops? No matter how many episodes of CSI I watch, I just can’t relate to the cool professional detachment required to keep emotions at bay, day in and day out, while plumbing the depths of the criminal mind. How do people stay calm and true to themselves when their job puts them face-to-face with the dark underbelly of human society?

Gabi Kreslehner’s Rain Girl invites us into the mind of a sensitive, thoughtful, empathetic police officer. Franza Oberwieser is by no means a simple character. When we meet her, she’s waking up late, her head on her lover’s bare shoulder, hesitating to leave paradise and rush off to work. But then her partner, Felix, calls about a new case, and she pulls herself together to get to the crime scene. We soon learn that Franza has an atypical marriage and a troubled teenage son, and her personal problems play out in parallel with her investigation.

Franza is moved and troubled by the sight of a remarkably beautiful young woman—the same age as her son—found dead on the autobahn in the early morning rain. As the details come to light, Franza’s connection to the case deepens. The chill running through Franza set my skin trembling—and the pages turning—as I chased the resolution of this spellbinding mystery.

What stays with me about Franza is also what makes her a brilliant detective: her awareness. She feels the magic of rain in June, pines for cold weather to dampen the stench of death, and reveals the complex and inelegant details of her life with sincerity, wit, and unsettling emotional depth. Thanks to Gabi’s voice, I’ve forged a spiritual connection with the souls who serve to protect us—and when you read how the story unfolds, you’ll understand just how deep our shared fault line runs.

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