We've read the stories in the papers - children killing children. We're horrified, wondering how it could happen, what is wrong with them, where were their parents and more.
Alex Marwood has taken that premise and penned a riveting debut novel.
In 1986 England, eleven year old Bel and Jade meet for the first time. At the end of that one day of friendship, a four year old will be dead. And they will be convicted of murder. " I don't understand why they hate me so much. We didn't mean it. We never meant it to happen.'
Twenty five years later, each has been released and made a life for themselves. But the paths they've taken are very different from each other. It is another set of murders in a seaside resort town that sets the stage for their paths crossing again. 'Kirsty' is a reporter covering the murders and 'Amber' is a cleaner at the carnival where the latest victim was found.
Ohh, what a page turner!! The present day search for the murderer is alternated with chapters from the past that detail bit by bit what led up to that fateful day in 1986. The present day story is no less riveting, full of tension and questions. Each woman has so much to lose if anyone discovers who they really are. What lengths will they go to, to keep their identities hidden? Who is murdering young women?
Each woman was well drawn - I felt like they were 'real'. Their home lives and thoughts were compelling. I did find myself drawn to one more than the other. The supporting characters were just as fleshed out and had their own secrets. Especially creepy were the thought processes of Martin - a man who doesn't see his behaviour as stalking.
This was an excellent thriller, complete with a 'didn't see that coming' ending. Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a London journalist - the crimes and the prose have a gritty, authentic feel to them. Read an excerpt of The Wicked Girls.
Marwood is working on a second novel - one I'll be watching for. You can find Alex Marwood on Twitter.