Author : Victoria Selman
Title : Truly Darkly Deeply
Pages : 360
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : July 7, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
12-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.
When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murders, questions remain as to his guilt — questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her Matty is dying and wants to meet. It looks like Sophie might finally get the answers she craves. But will the truth set her free — or bury her deeper?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Matty Melgren was a charming, handsome man. Most of all, he was a father figure to Sophie. The man who encouraged her, supported her, played games with her and always made her feel safe. But Matty had a darker side and twenty years ago, he was handed a life sentence for multiple murders of women in the North London area. He always maintained his innocence. Now, Matty is dying and he wants to meet with Sophie one last time. Sophie is reluctant but maybe this visit will answer some questions and give her some closure. There are after all missing women whose bodies have never been found. Will Matty, after all this time, finally admit that he was indeed a serial killer?
‘Truly Darkly Deeply‘ is told via a first person narrative and I think that really works here, as it feels as if you’ve just sat down with a cup of coffee while Sophie is telling you her story. In doing so, Victoria Selman manages to put quite a delightful spin on the one thing that everyone is always thinking when a seemingly normal family member turns out to be anything but : how could they not have known? How did Sophie’s mother not see? Sophie herself might have been too young and even now, when she’s looking back on those years of her early childhood, how reliable are her memories?
Sophie’s story begins when her mother packs up their things and moves them from Massachusetts to London, England. It is here where Sophie’s mother first meets Matty and Amelia-Rose is smitten. Matty very quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their little family unit. Sophie looks up at him and puts him on a pedestal. After all, Matty is everything she could possibly want in a father. Even though Matty often seems to lie or hide things, or puts down Amelia-Rose and argues with her pretty often, Sophie will always choose his side. So when the bodies of young women start popping up all North London, Matty is the least likely suspect to Sophie.
Was Matty truly a serial killer or was the wrong man convicted of these brutal murders? Don’t expect any answers soon. They are slow in coming but boy, are they worth the wait. The journey to the reveal is immensely compelling, and because the story is told via Sophie herself, it often becomes quite emotive. It’s remarkably easy to put yourself in her shoes, to wonder, to think things through and maybe find the answers before they’re revealed to you.
It might not be the world’s most popular topic and everyone is always going to have an opinion on it, but the impact of being related to a murderer really shouldn’t be underestimated. Those who are left behind will see their lives changed dramatically. People will start to look at them differently, avoid and ignore them, whisper behind their backs. “They must have known.” Maybe some do. I’m sure most don’t. Could they have done something to prevent the murders? Is it fair to blame them? Should they feel guilty? Do you think you’d know if you were related to a serial killer? Do you ever really know someone? It’s all so thought-provoking.
You might remember that my first introduction to Victoria Selman a little while ago wasn’t as successful as I had expected based on reviews I’d seen. ‘Truly Darkly Deeply‘ is a whole other kettle of fish though and I’m incredibly glad I took a chance on it. The blurb intrigued me from the second I saw it and I didn’t look back. There’s a delightful true crime vibe to it, which I enjoyed immensely and once I started reading, there was no way I was putting the book back down before I knew the truth of it all. I raced through this, savoured the chilling reveals and once you get to the end and think back on everything you’ve read …. all that’s left to say is “well played, Victoria Selman!”. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would definitely recommend to fans of the genre.
Truly Darkly Deeply is available to buy! My thanks to the publisher for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
20 Books of Summer : 8/20