Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood – and now they have a wicked secret

Title: The Wicked Girls
Author: Alex Marwood
Publication: Sphere, trade paperback, 2012
Genre: Suspense
Setting: 21st century UK
Description: Twenty-five years ago two girls spent a fateful day together and were charged with murder of a third child. Jade was from a disreputable family of which no one expected anything good but Bel was from an upscale home, which made it all the more shocking to the gossips. They were sent away and ordered never to have contact again. Now one is a journalist and one is a cleaner at “Funnland” where a serial killer is on the loose. If they both continue to do their jobs, they risk their secret being revealed, which could destroy the lives they have rebuilt.

My Impression: Right before I started my current job, I was painting my guest room and spent what seemed like days putting masking tape over the woodwork. I listened to two audio books, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd about the amazing Grimke sisters and The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood. The Grimke sisters were definitely interesting and when a bridge was dedicated to them in nearby Hyde Park not long before the pandemic, I was pleased I knew about them (because the male politicians at the event clearly had just been informed) but it was The Killer Next Door which had a slow beginning, then became so suspenseful I kept forgetting to paint. It brought together a group of characters who had nothing in common – six tenants in a falling apart building – and is told from each perspective as the threat of a serial killer brings them together. It was creepy and unnerving, so naturally I bought The Wicked Girls!
This is the sort of book I describe as gritty. It also has a serial killer at its heart but the real story was the two girls who screwed up their lives and have paid their dues, but are now being drawn into a situation that is bound to end in disaster. Marwood does a great job at making the reader root for these women who have been through so much and are victims themselves, particularly Amber, who has recently been promoted to head cleaner at Funnland, a seedy amusement park where her coworkers are the dregs of society. Amber found the serial killer’s first victim and Kirsty is sent by her newspaper to cover the story, and they recognize each other. Flashbacks to the fatal day 25 years ago are interwoven with what is happening now in dreary Whitmouth. 
The girls were never friends but they share a bond no one else can understand – particularly because they never told even their partners about their past and neither wants the truth to come out now.

The Wicked Girls is the twelfth of my 20 Books of Summer and is also my twentieth book for the Cloak and Dagger Challenge.
Source: Personal copy. Recommended.


Lark said...

Ooh...this sounds like a book I would really like. Am definitely adding this one to my TBR list. Great review! :)

Cath said...

Oooh, I love the sound of this and, like Lark, will add it to my tbr list. I'm also liking the sound of The Killer Next Door. You're bad for my tbr mountain, Constance! LOL

Cath said...

Managed to reserve both from the library. Happy Bunny...

CLM said...

It's very dark but I enjoyed it and loaned to my sister last night. I was reminded of Anne Perry's story. Here, it is very obvious these two girls were not only neglected but bullied, with tragic results.