Wednesday 23 August 2017

All The Wicked Girls - Chris Whitaker

'Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.'

Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she's a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama - especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine. Then Summer goes missing.

Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.

But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

What did I think?

I am a huge fan of Chris Whitaker's debut novel, Tall Oaks, so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that he was bringing a new book out.  Where Tall Oaks was filled with humour and Twin Peaks style weirdness, All The Wicked Girls is so completely different and so very very dark.  With two very different style novels, Chris Whitaker has certainly shown that he is a natural writer and can turn his hand to absolutely anything, or anythin' as they'd say in Grace.

The god-fearing townspeople of Grace, Alabama are shocked when one of their girls go missing...and she's not the first missing girl in the area.  Summer Ryan is a talented young musician, the light to her twin sister's dark.  Her twin, Raine, doesn't believe that Summer has run away so she gathers together her friends to look for Summer.  They are a bit like the scooby gang with Noah, who wants to follow in his Dad's footsteps and join the police, and Noah's friend, hilariously named Purv.

Every other chapter is told from Summer's perspective and we find out that she is not as pure and unblemished as we thought.  It's odd when you read a chapter from a character's perspective as you think of them as alive when you know the chances of a happy ending are slim.  The whole book is so vivid, but I felt as if Summer's chapters were almost talking to me.  She really got under my skin as I got into her head and I could hear her thoughts and words along with the smooth, mournful tone of her cello.  Summer also has a fabulous first chapter that really could only have been created by the ingenious and wacky mind of Chris Whitaker...let's just say that they don't just catch fish in the river in Grace.

With a cast of such eclectic characters, absolutely anything could happen so prepare for a mystery with shocks and surprises.  I found my mind racing over the words as I discovered deeply buried secrets and I thought nothing was quite what it seemed.  It took me a little while to get into the southern dialect, which was great as it added so much authenticity to the book, but once the book started to speak to me it became second nature.

All The Wicked Girls didn't quite topple Tall Oaks off the pedestal I'd put it on, but that's not to say it isn't a fantastic book in its own right. It's certainly a book to immerse yourself in and I was surprised how moved I was by the whole dang thing.  With his unique writing style and quirky stories, Chris Whitaker is definitely an author to watch out for.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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