A Gripping Contemporary Crime Novel – The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Posted by Justine Solomons on 24 October 2013, in Recommendations

Buy The Wicked Girls

Review by Tracey Sinclair

From Mary Bell to Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, children who kill children remain uniquely horrifying and perennially fascinating. Alex Marwood isn’t the first to ponder how such figures cope as adults – released into a hostile world, left to live with the knowledge of what they have done and constantly fearing revelation and retribution – but she smartly positions the dilemma of two such killers at the heart of a gripping contemporary crime thriller.

Jade and Bel are on the cusp of adolescence when they commit the unthinkable – the torture and murder of a young girl in their care. Years later, another murder draws them together, as a serial killer targets the seaside town where one now works at an amusement park; the other, a journalist, is assigned to cover the case. Forbidden by the conditions of their release to ever meet again, a chance encounter forces them to examine the lives they now lead even as it threatens to bring their carefully constructed new identities crashing down around them.

Serial killer novels are ten-a-penny these days, but what makes Marwood stand out is her strong characterisation and a gimlet eye for the everyday, rendering the grim seaside town in merciless rain-soaked detail. But there are also plenty of surprises thrown into the mix, not just about the serial killer but also about the girls, and the true nature of their original crime. I read the last few chapters in a breathless rush, utterly gripped and desperate to find out whether these two women would ever escape their pasts.

Tracey Sinclair's second novel in the Cassandra Bick Chronicles series, Wolf  Night, was self-published earlier this year and can be purchased here.

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