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428
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Wicked Girls
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Price:£4.99
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2012
Where do I start? A fantastic read written in wonderfully descriptive language. Some of AMs observations of the people you meet everyday in any British town were succiently breathtaking.
They drew me into an uncomfortable world of flawed people and I found myself thinking about the things children do and how they may think. How sometimes they can be naively spiteful or just horrible because they dont really understand consequences or how their behaviour will affect others.

AM writes with clarity at a fast pace and really gets inside your head. Her characters are real and believable. They each have their own voice and you find yourself wanting it to all end nicely. I couldnt put the book down.....I just had to know what really happened as children and why and how the story would resolve itself.
You dont always know where the story is going
and AM skillfully weaves between past and present. So the suspense is twofold.

I utterly loved this book and want more.....
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2012
I am not one for long wordy reviews, not being an author myself. :-)
This is a brilliant read. I couldn't put it down, and find myself really gripped throughout. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2012
Together two girls committed the murder of another child 25 years ago and since serving their time, they have emerged into new lives with new identities and nobody has ever suspected who they are. In this gritty slice of realism set in a sleazy seaside town, their two paths cross once more and neither wants to be reminded of their horrific history.

This authors style was very much like Ruth Dugdall's who wrote the excellent The Woman Before Me. It did take me a while to get into the book possibly due to the sheer ordinariness of the main characters lives which really is the genius behind the writing - sometimes detailing the most minute occurrence which gives it that sharp edge of reality.

Enjoyed it and will be looking out for more from this author.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2012
It's been a while since I've read a book this good. I've read a few that were supposed to be this good, but they turned out over-rated, not this one though. It's that rare thing: fantastic storytelling, believable characters, dialogue you can almost hear, all wrapped up in a cracking good plot.

Alex Marwood is a talented writer who has a way with words, so no surprise she is a journalist, writing under a pen name. I never lost track of where we were and where we were being taken, despite the story switching between the lives of two different characters, who are inextricably linked, and flicking between past and present. It's expertly handled.

The story is set up nicely from the start. There's been a murder way back, now there's a serial killer on the loose, and the paths of the two so-called wicked girls of the title cross again. Two or three potential murderers are presented to us early on, and I guessed who it was a few chapters in (which isn't like me), and their motivation not long after that, but even so, it was cleverly done and didn't spoil my enjoyment.

A book hasn't moved me to tears for a long time, but this one did, with a heart-wrenching scene that I won't give away. The author is very good at creating tension, then cranking it up. It's scattered with ironies, some cruel, others bittersweet. Some of the gritty reality is hard to take, especially the dynamic of Amber and Vile Vic, but before it gets uber-dark towards the end, the humour carries it through, along with the humanity of the more likeable characters in a cast that came straight from real life. The only exception is the snobbish mother of one of the two girls who is a caricature.

Great that it's so current, with references to riots, phone hacking and News of the World reporters being out of work. Given the author's profession, it's surprising the facts weren't better researched and this was one of a few downsides that niggled and took it down a notch from a 5 star rating:

* The way the female nightworkers seemed unperturbed about a young woman being murdered and her body dumped at their workplace - no fear for their own safety, even though one of them had a stalker. Even more unrealistic, the female reporter walks the streets alone late at night after doing research on the murder story at a nightclub, straight after attracting the attention of two creeps, one of whom had been following her. And she sets off without a thought for her safety. It was done for dramatic tension, but even so. A drunk teenager might have done that but not a professional, married, mother of two children.
* No mention of either of the child murderers having had CRB checks done on them for their jobs, even though both are working with the public and particularly as one starts off working day shifts at a funfair. And strange that their partners weren't informed of their past by the authorities, seeing as they were out on licence. And at least one of them should have been granted anonymity to protect her own children.
* There are quite a few howlers in terms of legal issues and police procedures but to list them would need a spoiler alert.

Despite all that, it drips with authenticity. It's a great read that draws you in and grabs hold of your interest. I hope the author keeps up the standard and writes more of this calibre. I'm looking forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2012
Don't read this if you want to be cheered up!
This is the story of two children who, in 1986, killed a younger child. Like Mary Bell, Jon Venables and Robert Thomson,they had experienced various types of abuse and neglect during their short lives.
We learn what happened to Bel and Jade after they were convicted - through detention and education to release on licence with new identities. This story is told through the eyes of the women they have become, interspersed with chapters from the point of view of Martin, a vindictive individual with a distorted take on reality. The girls' story is also told in episodes throughout the book - we gradually learn how 4-year old Chloe came to be with them, and what happened to her.

Young women are being murdered in a seaside town in Kent. An older, alcoholic woman who had been working as a prostitute is also found dead. One of the bodies is found in Innfinnityland, a 'hall-of-mirrors' type feature in Funnland, an amusement park, and of course journalists flock to the area.
The identity of the killer doesn't come as much of a surprise, but that isn't really the point of this story, which is a fascinating study of the actions and reactions of all the characters involved.
The stereotypes and distortions of truth ubiquitous in the tabloid press are realistically portrayed, along with the hysteria and brutality of vigilante justice. (Never get too attached to small animals in thrillers!)

The lesson learned from all this is that chance circumstances (particularly when helped along by anger caused by ill-treatment) can lead to ordinary people committing extraordinary acts - even murder. There are some evil people about - but not as many as we think.
This is a compelling story with a shocking ending: a good read, but not for the faint-hearted!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2012
One fateful summer morning, Annabel Oldacre and Jade Walker committed a terrible crime. They have since been released back into society under new identities and have forged new lives for themselves as Amber and Kirsty. But a series of attacks in the seaside town where Amber now lives brings the two women face to face for the first time in twenty-five years...

This is by far one of the best books I've read in a long time - I couldn't put it down. It's gritty subject matter but Marwood's writing is captivating, particularly the scenes in which we learn what happened all those years ago. As another reviewer said, even the repugnant characters are fascinating and you find yourself lost in this sleazy world.

I wasn't sure what I felt after finishing this book. I felt sad for certain characters whose ending wasn't a happy one but at the same time I felt blown away by the talent of Alex Marwood and how much I had become involved with the story. One thing I did think (warning, this may be a slight spoiler) is that when we finally learn exactly what the girls did, it didn't really challenge the empathy I had come to feel for Amber and Kirsty as I felt what they did wasn't particularly 'evil', they just made some bad decisions. It may have been more of a challenge to the reader if they had committed a brutal murder.

All in all, a fantastic debut novel and I hope to see more work from Marwood very soon!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Have you ever wondered about the life of an adult who committed murder as a child ? When released from prison and given a new identity,what next?
How do they live with themselves? Are they the monsters portrayed in the press? How do they form relationships and carve out a new life?

A fantastic plot,this book will challenge your opinions and make you think long after you have finished it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I finished this book a week ago and have been thinking about reviewing it ever since. What's making it difficult is that the writing is so good but the subject matter so disturbing that I can' t honestly say I enjoyed it. And the ending is clever (although you see something along those lines coming) but it made me feel very badly about a character I'd almost come to love.

So anyway, it's a story about two women who, when they were children, committed a really disturbing crime. Both had pretty horrific childhoods themselves, and there are other mitigating factors so you do feel sympathy for them. They are now adults, living completely separate lives, with new identities to protect them from the kind of vigilantes who confuse paedophiles with paediatricians. But then one of the women, Amber, discovers a young murder victim in her place of work. The other, Kirsty, is a journalist sent to cover the story. Their paths cross again and as the murdering continues, so the two start to come to terms with their pasts.

Both the main characters are hugely sympathetic. They're both trying to live the best lives they can, both doing their best until fate intervenes in this way. I would really have preferred it if they hadn't been burdened with their terrible secret!

I don't know why I wasn't as blown away by this book as so many other reviewers, I just wasn't. 3.5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2012
A fantastic read from start to finish. This author has a really bright future and has obvioulsy done a fair amount of research about the various topics covered in the book.
If you own a kindle you should pick up this book as soon as you can, you won't be dissapointed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2012
When a string of murders in seaside resort Whitmouth make headline news, and brings journalist Kirsty to the town to follow the police investigations, little does she know that she will also come face to face with someone she thought she would never see again. Someone that she shouldn't be in contact with as it could bring down her cosy life around her, someone she had last seen in a courtroom when they were both 11 years old...

Whilst Kirsty has made a successful career for herself, Amber is a cleaning supervisor at the resorts pleasure park. Both women couldn't be more different if they tried and both are leading completely different lives to those they would have led if they had not met on that eventful day when they were children.

Throughout the book there are two parallel stories, the present day events that have made the town infamous as well as flashbacks to that fateful day when they were children. We learn more about what happened to the little girl they were looking after on that day and why their lives have turned out so differently considering they were both charged with the same crime.

About half-way through the book I had guessed who was doing the killing, and I was correct, but it didn't spoil the story for me and I wanted to continue reading to see how the rest of the events panned out... How many more women would be killed before the killer is arrested and would Kirsty and Amber's real identities be discovered and revealed?

This was an enjoyable debut novel from this author and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future releases from her.
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