What happens when two children who murdered another child together grow up, are released from prison, and then find each other again?
That is the premise of Alex Marwood’s thriller The Wicked Girls (2012). My sister Afton recommended it to me, and I’m glad she did. I could not put it down.
The book flashes back to the past, explaining the crime that Bel and Jade committed together when they were 11. It is gruesome and heartbreaking, and from these flashbacks, we get a sense of how awful they must have been to become child murderers.
However, as the book progresses, we learn from the flashbacks that the story might be more complicated that it seems on the surface. Was there intent? Could other circumstances have led to the child’s death that create some doubt about the wickedness of Bel and Jade?
The narrative that takes place in the present follows the lives of Kirsty, a newspaper reporter whose husband is struggling to find a job, and Amber, a cleaning supervisor at Funnland in Whitmouth. Both women find themselves in the middle of a serial murder investigation in Whitmouth. Amber finds a body at her amusement park during the night shift. Kirsty travels to cover the story for her newspaper.
As the story unfolds, we learn more about the serial killer (who was obvious to me from the beginning of the novel, although it is supposed to be a shock once it is revealed) and we see the entanglements of coworkers, lovers, and old friends. Thrown in as a distraction is a weird little man who takes to stalking any woman who pays him any attention. His part of the story gives depth and dimension to the overlapping lives of the people involved in the narrative.
This book has a healthy amount of bad language in it. If that bothers you, this book should be skipped.