Author : Chris Whitaker
Title : All the Wicked Girls
Pages : 437
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : August 24, 2017
“Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.”
Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.
Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.
But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye.
Summer Ryan goes missing from her home town. She’s not the first girl to disappear. Four other girls, all sweet church going ones, have vanished from a neighbouring town. They’ve not been found, nor the person responsible who they call The Bird. The local police force is tired and feels beaten. So when Summer goes missing, it’s Raine who throws herself into the search for her twin sister.
There is a dark cloud hanging over the small town of Grace, Alabama. In more ways than one. I mean, there really is an actual dark cloud threatening a huge storm. But there’s more than that as tension in the town rises and people turn on one another.
I have to say this book wasn’t at all what I was expecting. At its heart, it’s crime fiction dealing with missing girls but there is so much more to it than that. All the Wicked Girls is quite slow and incredibly dark but the tension is palpable throughout. It’s incredibly intelligently plotted and amazingly descriptive. Not having read the author’s previous book, Tall Oaks, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. While it took me a while to get used to the very distinct writing, it was the atmosphere that sucked me in as it oozes from the pages. I could hear the Southern drawl in my head, hear the crickets chirping at night and completely imagine the oppressiveness of living in a small and poor town in Bible Belt country.
These characters will stay with you for a long time as the author really brings them to life. It’s all incredibly realistic and believable as the town residents try to cope with the challenges life throws at them, with topics ranging from child abuse to drug addiction to dealing with the loss of a child. And yet somehow, the author manages to occasionally lighten the mood with brilliantly witty one-liners.
Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for my advanced copy, which I received via Netgalley and chose to review honestly!
All the Wicked Girls is published today.