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126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How well do you know anybody?
Every nasty aspect of modern life is here - 'feral' children, journalists who'd sell their own mother for a lead, vigilante mobs, and the poor and ignorant who are exploited at every turn. But here you're given a glimpse of what lies behind all of this stuff of tabloid nightmares.

The scenes in which we re-live the event that triggers the story are very...
Published on 9 Mar. 2012 by N. Jeans

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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable but disturbing read...
Marwood has constructed a crime thriller with obvious allusions to the lives of other well documented child murders with the perpetrators being children themselves and how they assimilate back into society on release. Choosing her protagonists to be two women puts a neat twist onto the whole criminal responsibility of children as most of the well known cases tend to...
Published on 16 Jun. 2012 by Raven


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126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How well do you know anybody?, 9 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
Every nasty aspect of modern life is here - 'feral' children, journalists who'd sell their own mother for a lead, vigilante mobs, and the poor and ignorant who are exploited at every turn. But here you're given a glimpse of what lies behind all of this stuff of tabloid nightmares.

The scenes in which we re-live the event that triggers the story are very compelling, I was drawn into that world of naive decision making and catastrophic impulses which make your adult reader self want to cry 'Stop!'.

I would have loved to know more about what happened to many of the characters, even the ones who are completely repellent are fascinating.

A really good thriller, well written, well plotted and with enough 'nasty' to make you glad it's just a story.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable but disturbing read..., 16 Jun. 2012
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
Marwood has constructed a crime thriller with obvious allusions to the lives of other well documented child murders with the perpetrators being children themselves and how they assimilate back into society on release. Choosing her protagonists to be two women puts a neat twist onto the whole criminal responsibility of children as most of the well known cases tend to centre on male perpetrators. This, I found, was the most well-executed aspect of the book as the reader's sympathies shift and sway as more of the original crime unfolds throughout the book as Kirsty and Amber find themselves in grudging contact with each other as a serial murder infiltrates a small seaside town where Amber lives, and where Kirsty as a journalist goes to report on the events. The whole serial murder storyline I did find a little forced although it did serve as a backdrop, although unconvincing, to play out Kirsty and Amber's stories and I did find the final denouement a little far-fetched with just one too many unbelievable coincidences. I appreciate that Marwood wanted to capture the small-town mentality of this insular seaside town but thought it would be more feasible that a figure that was pillioried as much as Amber would maybe have `lost' herself better in a big city and this would have made the whole serial-killer aspect of the story, in terms of setting, a little more believable and I was surprised that she had remained undetected for as long as she had. Having said that I would recommend this book for the depth of humanity Marwood brings to her protagonists as she reveals little by little the tragic events of their youth and how this markedly affects them in their very different upbringings post-release and this alone makes `The Wicked Girls' an interesting read and a great choice for bookgroups as there are many talking points and potential areas of conflict ripe for discussion...
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly good, 3 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
I heard about The Wicked Girls via Twitter. The joys of social media and connected devices meant that within a few minutes it had arrived on my Kindle. I'll say up front that I absolutely loved this - it gripped me from first to last. It's taut and tightly plotted with excellent definition of characters. The Wicked Girls of the title come to life both as their teenage selves and the adult versions. They and those around them are fully 3 dimensional and I felt that I came to know them as the story progressed. There are some interesting changes of pace - almost cinematic in slowing down to establish a sense of normality and speeding up as crimes unfold. Whilst the idea of getting inside the heads of children who have killed may not seem attractive I would urge you to read this - it is not all as it seems (can't really say more here without plot spoiling).
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book!, 7 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
This book is an absolute page turner and a real thriller - but so much more than that. Alex Marwood shows real understanding for the psychology behind criminal types and their motivations. The writer evokes characters that are living and breathing and really transports you to their world. The Wicked Girls is incredibly atmospheric, drawing you into the winding dark lanes and seedy underbelly of a crumbling seaside town and the lives of the people that live there. I think this book would make a great tv series or movie. Very much looking forward to the next one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychological thriller writing at its very best, 5 July 2014
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
This was a really gripping and fascinating read. As always when reviewing thrillers, it would be wrong of me to tell too much of the story. In brief, Bel and Jade were convicted for murder twenty-five years earlier, and are now living with new identities as Amber and Kirsty. One of the conditions of their release is that they must never contact each other, but their paths unexpectedly cross again when Kirsty, now a successful journalist, covers a story at Amber's place of work in the run-down seaside town of Whitmouth.

The book is full of weighty moral questions - nature and nurture, the age of responsibility for your actions, the rights of convicted child murderers to resume their lives, media responsibility, personal responsibility - and you inevitably reflect on recent news stories that brought the meatier issues to public attention. But as well as that, this book is an absolutely gripping read - impossible to put down, a book you'll think about constantly when you're not reading it, and for a long time after you've finished. The characters - even the minor ones, like the night shift workers - are drawn in wonderful detail, and you enter their murky world entirely. The setting is vividly drawn - we all know places like Whitmouth, with its brash seafront lights and dark deserted alleys behind. The whole book is superbly dark and gritty - the seediness and sleaziness of it all made me think of the books of Cathi Unsworth - and thoroughly absorbing. The pacing of it all is quite perfect, building to an explosive and unexpected climax.

I absolutely loved it - psychological thriller writing at its very best, a book that you'll have difficulty putting down, and which really makes you think as you feverishly turn the pages. I'm dying to see what Alex Marwood does next.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting gripping read, 15 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
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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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cracking good read, 31 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Kindle Edition)
Such a satisfying read! It's fast moving, with a skillfully woven plot and a cast of well drawn characters (grotesque, sympathetic and other...)and locations. Hard-to-put-down not just on account of the plotting/pace/characterisation, but also because of the writing - you sense the author's enjoyment in creating these characters, there's plenty of humour in the dialogue. The danger for me with such a gripping story is the temptation to skip the odd paragraph to find out what happens next even faster. This back-fired as I had to re-read - on account of the brilliant prose. You can't afford to miss any of it. Some sentences are so perfectly, rhythmically balanced that I had to pause and read them over and over again!
Accomplished and entertaining writing and an exciting new name to watch out for - I can't wait for the next one.
It would make a fantastic film.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book, if a little flawed, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Read, 13 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the devils, 13 Aug. 2012
By 
Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Girls (Paperback)
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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