Wednesday 9 September 2020

BLOG TOUR: A Ruined Girl - Kate Simants



On a dark night two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into a house. They beat and traumatised the occupants, then left, taking only a bracelet. No one knows why, not even Luke, Rob's younger brother and Paige's confidant. Paige disappeared after that night. And having spent her life in children's homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.

Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige, and hiding a lifetime of secrets from her heavily pregnant wife, Wren's obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart...

What did I think?

Part way through I thought I had A Ruined Girl all worked out; a few minutes from the end, I was just doing a celebratory dance around the ring when Kate Simants landed a right hook and a knockout blow that wiped the smug look off my face.  A Ruined Girl is an absolute cracker of a novel; it's fast-paced and gripping with a dark and gritty storyline that grabbed me from the start and didn't let go until I had turned the final page.

The story opens with a girl being buried in the woods by a boy and a man.  The boy is so tender with the body that it is clear that he has deep feelings for the girl.  Of course you then wonder why he killed her, or helped to kill her.  Why else would he be burying her in the woods?

Rob is a prisoner eligible for the Community Atonement Programme, whereby he meets and apologises to those affected by the crime that saw him sent to prison.  Rob and Paige, a young girl from a care home who later disappeared, were seen on CCTV after breaking into a house and stealing a valuable bracelet.  Rob went to prison and Paige has never been found.  Wren Reynolds is Rob's probation officer and she has the unenviable job of taking Rob to meet his victims.  With what happened to Paige being the big question on everyone's lips, Wren can't help digging into the past even when it puts a strain on her family life.

Switching between 'Before' and 'Now' we get glimpses into the past where Rob's brother, Luke, is in the same care home as Paige.  Luke is obsessed with Paige, watching her movements and buying her gifts, and it's much more than a harmless teenage crush.  It tells you in the blurb that two boys loved her and one of them killed her, but I couldn't decide between Rob and Luke.  A burglary gone wrong or hormones gone crazy?

Both the before and now storylines had me absolutely gripped.  I wanted to find out about events leading up to Paige's disappearance but I also wanted to put together the pieces of the puzzle with Wren.  I loved Wren's character; she makes so many mistakes that I felt like slapping my forehead every time she did something stupid, I even hissed through my teeth and said 'noooooo' on one occasion.  Her emotions are running high with taking on such a high profile case while her partner is about to give birth.  She does seem to have bitten off more than she can chew and if she's not careful she might end up losing her job as well as her family.

Perfectly plotted, A Ruined Girl is dark, disturbing and completely compelling.  Kate Simants is definitely one to watch and I can't wait to read more of her books.  

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

My rating:

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