All the Wicked Girls

Written by Chris Whitaker

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.


All the Wicked Girls
Zaffre
RRP: £7.99
Released: Aug 24 2017
PBK

Grace, Alabama, a one-horse town where the horse has just about given up and died. It’s the sort of place where nothing happens, or so fifteen-year-old Raine Ryan thinks. Then her sister Sumner, a model student and musical prodigy goes missing.

Suddenly everyone is talking about the six girls from neighbouring towns abducted by a near mythical figure known as the ‘Bird,’ has he returned to claim more good church going girls? As Raine searches for her lost sister an apocalyptic storm builds over the town, tempers start to fray and fingers start to point.

In this novel Chris Whitaker takes his readers into the dark heart of a forgotten America, to the dying towns behind the glamorous facade. Places where old loyalties and enmities run deep and, as one character puts it the Bible-belt is too often a noose around people’s necks. The narrative is as prescient as it is entertaining.

The atmosphere is intense from the first page and Whitaker plays on the tensions between the townsfolk to brilliant effect. His characters could have been southern clichés; instead he gives us a cast of damaged individuals trying the best they can with lives that never get out of first gear.

This is a creditable addition to the canon of books that explore the America most of its visitors fly straight over and a far cry from the Hollywood dreams from Las Angeles. It reads with the intensity and originality of the sleeper hit independent movie it is surely destined to be adapted into.



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