‘All the Wicked Girls’ by Chris Whitaker

 

Tall Oaks’, Chris Whitaker’s 2016 novel of small town American intrigue revolving around the disappearance of a three-year-old boy was an incredibly assured debut and trumpeted the arrival of an impressive new talent. Rightly acclaimed, it is a brilliant read, a pitch black yet hilarious and touching tale that brought to mind the work of David Lynch, in particular ‘Twin Peaks’, and films such as ‘Fargo’.

So the big question: after such a striking first offering, would Whitaker’s sophomore effort suffer from ‘difficult second album syndrome’? Could he produce the goods again, and cement his reputation as one of the most unique new voices in the crime writing genre?

Set in 1994, ‘All the Wicked Girls’ introduces us to the small Bible Belt town of Grace, Alabama, with its people reeling from ‘The Fear’: a series of unsolved disappearances of local girls, all of them church-going, ‘good’ young women. When star student and musical prodigy Summer Ryan vanishes the locals worry that she is yet another victim to add to the ever-growing list. This is the catalyst for Raine, Summer’s troubled sister, and her unlikely sidekicks Noah and Purv to join forces to find the missing girl. What follows is an extraordinary descent into the underbelly of Grace, with its motley collection of disenfranchised characters who are as far removed from ‘The American Dream’ as you could possibly imagine.

Back to that big question: does Whitaker pull it off? Well think season one of True Detective and you’re close to the tone and atmosphere of ‘All the Wicked Girls’. But think of the books of Frank Bill and Donald Ray Pollock and Denis Johnson and Daniel Woodrell too, because this – a glorious, seething, sweaty slice of Southern Gothic – is up there with all of them. Possibly even better than some of their work. What Whitaker has produced here is sublime. ‘Tall Oaks’, as great as it is, was just a taste of what the author had in store for readers – this new book is exquisitely written, with the darkest of hearts, but so beautiful and human and moving that it has been reducing people – me included – to tears. There is writing here that makes your jaw drop, and fills you with joy, and makes you close your eyes and wish that you had the ability to craft something as achingly gorgeous.

This is a crime novel, yes, but it is so much more than that. It is a study of marginalised folk, of broken dreams, of haunted people just trying to get by. It is uplifting and funny and sad. And it is about friendship and lust and grief and the things we will do for our loved ones, no matter how dark the path it takes us down.

But in short, ‘All the Wicked Girls’ is a very special novel, from a very special writer.

The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury – Reviewed by Linda’s Book Bag

The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury – Reviewed by Linda’s Book Bag

Linda's Book Bag

abbatoir-of-dreams

I’m delighted to be helping to celebrate the launch of The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury.

The Abattoir of Dreams was published by Bloodhound on 28th February 2017 and is available for purchase here.

The Abattoir of Dreams

abbatoir-of-dreams

The past is never far away.

Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael was sent to Woodside Children’s Home.

Now an adult, Michael wakes up in hospital from a coma suffering from amnesia and paralysis. Confused and terrified, he is charged with the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also learns he attempted to end his own life.

Detective Inspector John Carver is determined that Michael is sent to prison. With no way of defending himself, Michael is left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand.

But then strange things begin to happen and his childhood comes…

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Reblog: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn – Reviewed by BOOKS FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

Reblog: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn – Reviewed by BOOKS FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

BOOKS FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

I WISH TO THANK RACHEL OF AUTHORIGHT FOR INVITING ME ON THIS BLOG TOUR FOR PORCELAIN : FLESH OF INNOCENTS BY LEE COCKBURN.

Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by [Cockburn, Lee]

BOOK DESCRIPTION

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks…

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Reblog: Cursed by Thomas Enger – Reviewed by Novel Gossip

Reblog: Cursed by Thomas Enger – Reviewed by Novel Gossip

Novelgossip


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: February 15, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to…

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Reblog: Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick – Reviewed by THE WRITING GARNET

Reblog: Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick – Reviewed by THE WRITING GARNET

The Writing Garnet

fv

There really should be some sort of club for Bookouture addicts as they produce some FAB books from FAB authors, and I am hooked on their books! Can you tell that this book was published by Bookouture? Thrilled to be one of the two blogs that Frances Vick is stopping at today, especially as the other blogger is super lovely! For my stop, I will sharing my review of Frances Vick’s new release, Bad Little Girl.

fv1‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees…

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Reblog: Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen – Reviewed by ChapterInMyLife

Reblog: Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen – Reviewed by ChapterInMyLife

chapterinmylife: Scottish Crime Fiction Blogger

When #BloodhoundBooks contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in hosting a spot on the upcoming #BlogTour for Owen Mullen’s #OldFriendsNewEnemies I did not hesitate to say YES PLEASE! And when they then asked me to kick off the tour then you could hear the #SqueakyEEEEKS from miles away! Of course I wanted to and I was delighted to be involved in the relaunch of this #Cracking book! And as a special wee treat you will see that I have a video of Owen reading an excerpt from Old Friends and New Enemies! So for those who want to hear this in the dulcet Scottish dialect then get scrolling down and have a wee listen!

Old Friends And New Enemies: an explosive crime thriller by [Mullen, Owen]

What the blurb says:

“The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for. But it wasn’t a stranger. Ian Selkirk had been stabbed through the heart and dumped…

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Reblog: I See You by Clare Mackintosh – Reviewed by Novelgossip

Reblog: I See You by Clare Mackintosh – Reviewed by Novelgossip

Novelgossip


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Berkley Publishing

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes–including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close…

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