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The Wicked Girls
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on 17 December 2014
Mixed reviews indeed, so I was interested to find out what indeed the intrigue was in my mind.

We start off the story with two young girls Bel and Jade being sentenced for the murder of another young girl. We then go quickly to two young women, one married and the other in a long term relationship, The book is set by the seaside of a quite run down town, however when the first murder has been committed it soon becomes the place to visit. The journalists and the eye bogglers all turn up.
The scene runs around the fair where one of the women works, and one a journalist, and yes they both have a sordid past but what was it?
It is a gritty drama but does not have the pull of a long term writer, I finished the book and am looking forward to the next book to see if it is more seamless.
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Read this as research for my Ph.D after watching the Written In Blood series and was thrilled. Loved the idea of exploring the children who have been punished for their crime and are now adults. It was satisfying to have some idea of the events that happened on the fateful day of the killing. As usual Marwood narrates beautifully, throwing in curve balls and ratcheting up the tension. Thoroughly enjoyeable
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on 17 April 2017
A real page turner, I fished it within 2 days on my holiday. It real resonates with similar cases in the UK and it left me feeling a little raw, if that makes sense? The author writes brilliantly and delves into the lives of her characters well and I felt that I really knew what their lives were like...I went on to buy her other book.
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2012
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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on 9 December 2016
Alex Marwood tells the unsettling tale of two little girls who killed a child 25 years ago. A series of attacks on young women in a seaside resort brings together Kirsty and Amber who have not set eyes on each other since that horrific day. They attempt to keep their secret from friends and families as the casualties mount up. This is a superbly crafted, genuinely upsetting tale of 2 little girls drawn together again as adults. The denouement of the novel is excellent. Marwood manages to evoke the atmosphere of the seaside effortlessly. This author is now firmly on my read the whole catalogue list.
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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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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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on 7 March 2013
A dark, dangerous yet not depressing book, with a fast pace that carries the reader breathlessly along, Marwood tackles the tricky subject of killers who are children with craft and skill. Some writers use this kind of subject, like child abuse, as an easy way to shock and evoke pathos but here, it's somehow examined forensically - what happens to such children after they are released, how do they come to perpetrate their crimes in the first place? - yet with an underlying empathy which in no way glosses over the nature of the crime. It made me think of the 'Heavenly Creatures' (the actual case, not the film which I've not seen.) As well as this it has a strong sense of place, a run-down seaside town with tatty amusements and down at heel people getting by. Packed with thrills, gripping, exciting, but also well written, language used for precision and power which is rare in these days of 'thrillers' full of padding, it's a must-read. All killer, no filler, as they say about the best music albums.
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on 13 January 2013
Child-killers are the lowest and children who kill are worse in the popular view. So how do those who have committed crimes at a young age rebuild their lives when punishment and rehabilitation have succeeded? This book takes that idea and uses it spin a web. Annabel and Jade committed a crime when they were young;they were convicted of murder but the interwoven events suggest that it wasn't that clearcut, both were abused and neglected and the events of the fateful day do not suggest malice aforethought. Twenty-five years later they have new identities and new lives in different parts of the country. Their new lives clash as they are both involved in the activities of a serial killer in the town where one works and the other is sent as a journalist.

The intertwined narratives in this book work well, the stories and plots stand alone and the characters of Amber and Kirsty are well-developed. However some of the other characters are not, particularly Vic, and this leaves me a little unsatisfied. When it comes, the denouement is both predictable and exciting.

As a commentary on our national mores it is fantastic!
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on 26 August 2013
This is a really good thought provoking book, capturing the mentality of news that has nothing to say, and small mindedness that likes to blame other people for things - to make us feel better. The description that unfolds of how two children kill another smaller child were horrifying. As an adult you seem so many times when other better choices could have been made. I would suggest that reading this might make certain adults have a more rational response to children who kill. Children do not have the same impulse control as adults, they do not see the whole picture, they do not always make sensible choices and things can just happen - one after another until there is a tragedy. True evil would be going out with intent to murder. It makes us question redemption and how we treat people who come back into society. Both children grew up to be women who were kind, caring and decent. And yet the press and the public only want to villify and condemn. I will be thinking about this book for ages. Would agree that the serial killer element didn't quite work and wasn't sure I really got Martin.
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