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on 18 April 2014
This is the 3rd Lesley Thomson book I've read. I looked out for it and bought it as soon as I could. It's one of those books that I can't put down, but at the same time, I don't want it to end. Convoluted plot, eccentric characters, fabulous scene setting, and lots of signposting and red herrings leave you guessing to the end. Smashing.
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on 9 April 2016
I gave this four stars rather than five because, frankly, I spent the first almost third of the book being rather confused. With a character called Jack and another called Jackie, I couldn’t tell at first if they were two people or the same person. Also, the character called Jack had a very strange habit which I found hard to follow as he went seeking for his ‘hosts’ and I had no understanding of what was going on.
Having said that, suddenly, things started to become clearer and I sorted out the two characters who are actually a male and female (as one would expect from the names) and I started to become involved with the characters and with the plot. In fact, I found myself being totally drawn in; I was glad that I’d persevered with the first part of the book. After those first hurdles, I really enjoyed it; it was unusual and it was a well thought-out plot and involved a very unusual way of committing murder.
Obviously, in order to get the best out of this book, one should really read the first book, which I had not. I do feel the author should have borne it in mind that not everyone will read the books in order and therefore will have a similar confusion to mine when reading the first third of this book. As an author myself, I know how easy it is to get involved with the lives of one’s characters and creating the furthering of their lives and what they are doing next and to forget that the reader may not have the same pictures and thoughts that the author does and so each book needs to stand alone, even when part of a series, so that the reader can easily follow what’s happening even when they are not already acquainted with the characters.
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on 30 August 2014
A powerful novel. The characters grew on me: I didn't quite "get" them at first, but gradually I did. Stella is a cleanliness-freak, a grieving daughter who feels more than she lets on. Jack wanders in an out of others' lives and homes, by turns lost and intuitive. There is no set pattern of who rescues who: it's a bit of both. They are human and their flaws are depicted with comprehension and compassion. Above all, they are very fully realized. The relationship between them deepens and develops over the two novels in this series. I actually felt sad to leave them and long for the next book. The setting, too, is very fully realized and atmospheric. Lesley Thomson is skilled at evocative London settings (vividly "seen" geographical locations, decay next to development and stages in between, multi-layered with traces of different "pasts"), reminding me of Nicci French's Freida Klein novels, Rendell-Vine and Frances Fyfield. She is good at a strong sense of mystery and at exploring the traces of the past in the present. Cutting between past and present events is not uncommon, but Thomson does it particularly well. In this novel, as in The Detectives Daughter, events from the past unravel in the present in unexpected ways and part of the mystery is finding out who the past character has become. One of the best crime novels I've read for ages.
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on 30 August 2015
I enjoyed Lesley Thomson’s first book The Detective’s Daughter although I did find it hard going at times, very long winded in places but eventually it all came together and in the end a very good read.

When I saw Ghost Girl available for 99p I thought what the heck, I’ll give Lesley’s second book a go and I’m so glad I bought this book. Stella and Jack are still the main characters and their lives pick up very easily from the first book.

Stella is still dithering whether to sell her father’s house or not and she plucks up courage to go into his basement. She finds a wall of photographs dedicated to herself which is actually very poignant because Stella always believed that her father was never photographing her.

Whilst ‘recovering’ from the shock of seeing all the photos she notices a blue folder on her father’s desk with a series of photographs of streets all numbered and this begins her next adventure with Jack.

As before there are lots of twists and turns and lives become entangled, we also find out a little bit more about Stella’s mother Suzie who is quite a sad person feeling abandoned by her daughter.

I liked the flashbacks to the 1960’s and references to other events that actually had me Googling them!!

Apart from a few minor editing mistakes it was on the whole a far superior book to the first and I’d fully recommend it.
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on 3 October 2014
This is one of the worst books I have read for a long time. Having read The Detective' s Daughter, and found it reasonable, foolishly I bought Ghost Girl. As the reviews (I read them too late!) say, it turned out to have a confusing and implausible storyline, too many aliases and changes of location. Why did I keep reading? Because I could not believe how badly written it was, kept hoping for some improvement. All through the book, I found myself mentally rewriting some passages, and thinking how the editing could have been so much better. I shall not purchase any more of this writer's books, and would advise any prospective buyers of Ghost Girl to read the reviews and consider carefully before parting with hard-earned cash.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2014
Thomson has written what must be two of the most convoluted novels in the crime canon in The Detective's Daughter and this, its sequel. Set a year after the first novel, little has changed: Stella is still unable to let go of her recently dead father or his house; Jack is still staying, uninvited, in people's homes.

I can see that it would be very easy to get lost in this novel and maybe give up in despair but I found myself frantically turning the pages towards the end, desperate to find out who, exactly, had done what to whom.

As in the first volume, we flit between past and present, between 1966 and 2012 (though once, thanks to a typo, into 1912!). I found the 1966 passages a little tedious, wanting to get back to Stella and her investigation, but they are all short.

I have just one criticism. I deeply object to the idea that when a kid runs out in front of a car and gets knocked down, it’s automatically the driver’s fault! It would be okay if it was just the killer who believed this but the author seems to believe it too. Sometimes a driver is just going carefully along, minding his own business, and someone runs in front of him.

The most striking thing about these novels, though, is how weird everyone is. There is not one 'normal' person in them and, yes, we do all know what is meant by 'normal'. I live in Stella's stamping ground (another reason these novels appeal to me), I promise faithfully that we are not all weirdos here in Chiswick/Hammersmith.
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on 8 November 2014
The second in 'The Detective's Daughter' series carries on where the first one left off. It might be beneficial for the prospective reader to read book 1 before tackling this second instalment, but it's not essential to the enjoyment of the book for them to do so.

Once again we have a meticulous examination of the two main characters, Stella (the titular daughter) and the somewhat bizarre Jack: both of whom are what we call these days 'OCD'. In fact, a good many of Ms Thomson's characters seem to be OCD or at least very odd. She takes us deep into the minds of each of them in a carefully crafted, well written murder mystery set in in the Hammersmith area of West London, which is described for us in minute detail.

As I also said in my review of the first book in this series, if the reader is looking for a fast paced crime thriller then this is not it - what we are presented with here is an intricately plotted, finely tuned piece of work which requires a great deal of concentration to follow properly. It is a good book but will not be to everyone's taste - the amount of detail we are asked to retain about dates, locations, killers and victims is vast and at times probably a bit too much to expect. The author is clearly so deeply into her subject matter that at times she forgets that we have a long way to go to catch her up. She even provides spreadsheets in the text to help us! There is also a big question mark over whether or not the crimes could realistically have been committed with such a resounding success rate bearing in mind how they are being carried out.

Having said which, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a little more thinking along with their crime books - I look forward to number 3, in which I hope Stella actually has a little more success with her love life.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 August 2014
I love a good series - I enjoy the ongoing revelation of the main characters' backstories and gradual unfolding of their lives. I read the first in this series after it popped up in my Amazon recommendations and very quickly bought this one and the third in the series so far. I've enjoyed them very much; I like the writer's style and narrative voice(s) and thought the books were soundly plotted. I like that the principal character, Stella, has a cleaning firm and loves bringing order to chaos and filth; I think it's quirky and amusing.

The books are not so much about working out the who as being involved in the what and the why and how the characters think and feel and respond. I prefer this kind of mystery story; I find it more engaging and entertaining.
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on 21 November 2014
GHOST GIRL is one of my favourite books of 2014.
There is a depth to the characters and a compassion for them which stays with you long after you've read the last page.
Lesley Thomson is also brilliant at evoking a sense of place. I feel I know her Hammersmith and it's a pretty dark location. Her evocation of the decaying Mallingswood Prep School with its rows of neatly made beds has a quality to it that is so sinister.

Her central characters, Jack and Stella, are both outsiders and they share a deep integrity which unites them. It also makes you root for them in their quest for the truth about some cold case murders which have been filed away as accidents. Jack has a spiritual dimension to him that enables him to perceive evil in the form of Hosts and True Hosts. The description of these moments is truly chilling. Stella is more grounded but shares his forensic attention to detail. They make an unlikely but great team.
Yes I loved it even though it frightened me thoroughly as I read on deep into the night.
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on 20 October 2014
Another excellent story from Lesley Thomson, marked down only because I though it was just slightly too complicated, in a way that didn't really add to the story.

Also, a nitpick - BEWARE SPOILER:

The method the murder was supposed to be using would not really have worked because if s/he had jumped from the pavement the car would have swerved AWAY from any tree on said pavement and if he had come from the other side of the road the driver would have seen him and been prepared. Also, the driver would have braked as well as swerved and if he was far enough from the tree for the car to be able to deviate enough to hit it he would also have lost quite a bit of speed and he would need to hit just about head on to cause a fatality (assuming seatbelt) which would be far to difficult to guarantee with all the variables involved.
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