The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
British author, Alex Marwood, delivers a riveting and tantalizing mystery. After two British girls meet by chance in a park, they commit a crime that completely alters the course of their lives.
Each girl is sent to a different detention center and told not to ever meet again. Upper class Annabel Oldacre is sent to Blackdown Hills while lower class Jade Walker is sent to Exmouth--the better of the two juvenile detention facilities.
Twenty-five years later or so, after both have painfully rebuilt their lives, the two women accidently meet again at the Funnland's hall of mirrors.
Though "Bel" who is, now Amber, resents Jade's better placement, Bel finds that she needs Jade now more than ever. A serial killer is on the loose in the resort town of Whitmouth. Kirsty/Jade, who is now a reporter, is sent to investigate the crimes, all the while hoping her own criminal past is not uncovered.
The killer is dangerously close to both of them. Will they be able to save each other from harm? from the press? from the idle curiosity of the public?
Incredibly astute psychological portraits, break-neck plotting, and a well crafted narrative, The Wicked Girls is a must read for anyone who enjoys psychological mysteries. The Wicked Girls would also be good for book discussions because of the rich content and unanswered questions.
Marwood seems to be asking what would drive someone to kill--how can two school girls be involved in a murder? How can a popular studio club manager or how can a down-on-his-luck type be drawn to it as well? What would cause a middle class woman to become unhinged and violent?
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Full disclosure: I received a galley of this book in the mail from Penguin. So far, its the best book I've read all year.