Publication date Aug 24, 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre
“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 . . .
First things first, if you love crime fiction and well-plotted mysteries and you haven’t read Chris Whitaker yet…what are you waiting for?? I first discovered his wonderful writing when my friend Annie at The Misstery introduced me to his debut novel Tall Oaks last year. Months later, I still think about Manny, one of my favorite fictional characters ever! Needless to say, I was so excited to get a copy of All the Wicked Girls…could Chris Whitaker create more memorable characters and another mystery that would fool me? Often we readers go into highly anticipated second novels with high expectations to love it as much as we loved the first…sometimes it works out and sometimes not so much. So, read on to find out if All the Wicked Girls lived up to my high expectations.
In Grace, Alabama , a small southern town brimming with secrets, poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse and grief, five of their own”Briar” girls have gone missing over the recent years. All are church going girls who seemed to have vanished without a trace and except for a possible suspect they call the “Bird” there’s been no leads. The latest girl to go missing is Summer Ryan, the question is… did she run or was she taken? It seems Summer left a note and packed a bag and well, we soon learn Summer had some BIG secrets she was keeping from her parents and her closest friend and twin sister Raine. Raine enlists the help of two teenage boys in town, Noah and Purv, and the three of them conduct their own investigation into what happened to Summer. Now, I’ll admit, that sounds like a fairy simple and straightforward plot but I’m here to say it’s anything but and if you’re like me, you’ll quickly fall under the spell of these tragic, yet endearing, quick-witted characters. I loved Noah and Purv, both had stories that will break your heart and along with Raine I was fully invested in the lives and outcomes of these characters.
At the heart of this story is an intricate mystery that put every single detective skill I think I have to the test and guess what?…I failed miserably. Chris Whitaker completely fooled me (again) and I couldn’t be happier. In the end, this is a story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, redemption, and yes hope and I highly recommend it to everyone who’s a fan of mysteries and memorable characters! So, yes it definitely lived up to my high expectations.
P.S..Fun Flashback….As a former Blockbuster Video employee in my college days (remember Blockbuster & VHS?) I loved the part when Purv is talking about getting he and Noah’s (VHS) movies from “that bastard Goodwill lady…Ain’t never at the start neither. She never heard of be kind, please rewind?” Too funny! This totally took me back to spending hours putting those little stickers on the VHS movies and then having to rewind most of the movies anyway when lazy rewinders returned them:)
Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre via Netgalley for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review
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