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The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
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The Wicked Girls (2012)

by Alex Marwood

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4834030,741 (3.63)44
  1. 20
    Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth (Soupdragon)
    Soupdragon: Both are convincingly told crime stories with dual narratives, featuring seaside towns in South-East England and schoolgirls accused of murder in the 1980s.
  2. 00
    Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense by Sarah Weinman (sturlington)
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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Interesting thriller about two women who as young girls were convicted of murdering a child. After prison, they started new lives under new names. They meet again as adults when a serial killer is preying on young women in the seaside resort town where one of them lives, and the other, a journalist, comes to cover the story.

The killings continue, along with the problems each of them is dealing with in their relationships and jobs. That story is alternated with flashbacks where we learn about their backgrounds and what happened the day of the murder.

It was certainly a gripping story - I read it on a plane and it made the time fly by - and the atmosphere of the run-down seaside town and its crumby amusement park, not to mention the pathetic denizens of the area, were well drawn. The twists were satisfyingly surprising and not preposterous. There were interesting ideas about how people change, how they can live with a lie. But it was unsatisfying in various ways. Too many people making stupid choices. I left it in the bookcase of the place we stayed in Hawaii and someone will enjoy it.


Why was the child's death treated as murder when it seemed to have been an accident?

We didn't learn much about how either of the main characters felt about the crime. One of them seemed to be trying to atone for it in her adult life, by caring for others, but it was only observed by others - what was she feeling? The other seemed to have successfully put it all behind her, but did she have regrets or remorse? We only see her desperate desire not to be found out.

I wasn't crazy about the twist in which the serial killer turned out to be the lover of one of the women, and the final twist, in which she covered up for the other and expects to go back to jail, was true to her character as she'd been painted. Yet it was annoying that she was kind of shown as having nothing to live for, with no husband or kids, while the other had a life that was worth saving. Not saying this was stated, but it was implied. On the other hand, at that point her life is pretty awful since her true identity has been revealed and she's running from an angry mob.

Also I knew immediately that the dogs were going to die.
( )
  piemouth | Jan 16, 2018 |
Gripping, disturbing and unsettling. Sad commentary on the dark side of the popular print media and the stirring of mob rule. Loved, hated, and pitied both lead characters in turns. Glad I read it, but hard to recommend to anyone preferring lighter reads. ( )
  FYreads | Jan 1, 2018 |
Twenty five years ago two little girls are imprisoned for the murder of a five year old. Now both are out and leading new lives. Kirsty is a journalist and Amber is a cleaner. Both are never to see each other again but circumstances throw them together.

I recently watched Alex Marwood on CBS reality Written in Blood, where she spoke about how the case of Jamie Bulger gave her the idea for this book. It explores how children become the killers of children.

I quite enjoyed the book. I found it very easy to read and very down to earth. The story follows the two women and their lives and goes back to their one day together and what happens. I think I would have enjoyed the book slightly more if the story had been told by both women.

The story was a little predictable at times and didn't have a lot of twists. The story wasn't quite what I expected, as I thought it was going to focus more on the girls and their crime rather than their adult lives. ( )
  tina1969 | Oct 5, 2017 |
There was so much about this book that I wanted to like, but ultimately, it left me cold.

This book draws most of its inspiration from the infamous 1954's Parker-Hulme case, which is pretty obvious from anyone vaguely familiar with the case and its aftermath (the blurb on Amazon even mentions Heavenly Creatures).

Unfortunately, outside of that the book isn't very much in the way of interesting. The story moves at a glacial pace. The characters aren't anything special and it's hard to dredge up much sympathy for them -- though, hilariously, I will say some parts of the book read as though they were written by Anne Perry herself, complete with all the whiny, self-indulgent, pity-party hand-wringings about how they aren't "those girls" anymore and life is just so unfair.

(Considering that Marwood is from the UK, where Perry now resides, it could be that this was an intentional jab at her.)

But on the whole, this book is just very uninspired, unfeeling, poorly paced, and not surprising or shocking in the least. The recent day killings just don't really even need to be in this story, but there they are, tossed in and solved rather anti-climatically. As if Marwood wanted a clever way to bring the two women back together, but didn't really care enough to make it an interesting and engaging mystery. ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
When they were children, Bel and Jade spent one day together, and by the time that day was through, the world would see them as murderers.

Now adults, living new lives under new names, the two women are brought together by the mysterious strangling deaths occurring in and around an amusement park--and they are forced to wonder just how much of their own pasts will be brought out into the present.

This is a book that just flies by-I read three quarters of it in a day. It is extremely suspenseful, especially through the use of flashbacks. Marwood doesn't reveal to the readers what truly happened that fateful day until the end of the book, and the build up creates a real sense of absolute dread.

Marwood also does a thorough and fascinating job of exploring the dark side of human nature--in particular, just how much a person can (or cannot) change--and how much society and the people around them will allow them to change.

I did feel like there were one or two too many subplots and characters. The book could have been tightened up a bit.

This was a quick, suspenseful read with very little light and some real surprises (including one surrounding a side character that really stuck with me). While this is not the best of this genre I've read, Marwood will suck you into the story and you will not be able to put this book down. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Jul 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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There’s a blanket, but from the aroma that rises from its folds, she guesses it’s never been washed. The cells are overheated and, despite the fact that Jade balled it up and pushed it into the corner of the room when they first brought her in here, the stink of stale piss and unwashed skin is hard to ignore. Officer Magill picks it up and holds it out towards her, wadded in her hand. ‘You’re going to have to wear this,’ she says. ‘Over your head. Apparently they’re not allowed to see your face.’
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Book description
The noise was overwhelming, the feral, chanting voices of strangers wanting Justice.

That's us. We're the girls who killed Chloe. We are the Devil now.


One summer morning, three little girls meet for the first time.
By the end of the day, two will be charged with murder.


Twenty-five years ago, two little girls were imprisoned for murder. Now journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young women and her investigation leads her to cleaner Amber Gordon.

For Kirsty and Amber, it is the first time they have seen each other since that dark day when they were children. Aware of the danger they are in and with new identities — and families — to protect, they will do anything it takes to keep their wicked secret hidden...

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"A gritty, psychological thriller that asks the question: How well can you know anyone? On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first time they've seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives--and unknowing families to protect--will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden? Gripping and fast-paced, with an ending that will stay with you long after you've read it, The Wicked Girls will appeal to fans of the Academy Award-nominated film Heavenly Creatures and the novels of Rosamund Lupton and Chevy Stevens."--… (more)

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