Summary: On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?
Source: I purchased a paperback
The Wicked Girls was an interesting contemporary mystery set in England. It features Amber, a cleaner at an amusement park in a small town, and Kirsty, a journalist. A string of murders placed Kirsty in the same town as Amber to report the crime and interview the town citizens. It was clear that the two women had two very different lives. Certain chapters of the book took place in the past where two young girls, Bel and Jade, were charged with the murder of another little girl.
Amber and Kirsty are Bel and Jade. I wasn’t sure which one was which, but it was obvious that they both changed their names to protect their identities and had not told a soul about their pasts. They did not know each other in the present, but met coincidently while Kirsty was investigating the crimes and trying to get the story.
The Wicked Girls was sort of screwed up and weird, but it was supposed to be. There was a stalker who was bothering one of Amber’s coworkers and I thought his obsession would eventually lead to the two women being associated with one another. Different characters could have been the killer who was killing young girls and leaving them near the amusement park for Amber to find.
And it was obvious that something terrible happened to Amber and Kirsty, but we didn’t really know what it was or how they ended up being charged with murder. Who died? How? Were the girls guilty?
I liked the book and I enjoyed trying to unravel the mystery and trying to figure out how it was all connected. None of the characters were particularly likeable, but I’m used to that in a lot of mystery novels these days, so it didn’t bother me. I liked the way the characters were all flawed and kind of terrible.
However, The Wicked Girls was also slightly disappointing. I was dying to find out what happened to Bel and Jade in the past, but the actual events were kind of lame and it was all anticlimactic. And really, the author was writing a book that hard more to do with journalism than anything else. He had his characters view themselves and others how a journalist would. The stalker kept wanting to get his two cents in and be respected by the papers. The other news outlets were twisting the facts. Kirsty was trying to get a story and still manage to be there for her family. The amusement park employees knew the rise in business had to do with the news attention. So much of the focus was about the newspapers and journalists.
I felt like the book had so much potential to explore different aspects of the novel, but didn’t really explore any of them. It didn’t delve deep into anything and I never truly connected with anyone. It was an interesting plot, but it felt kind of bland when it was all over. Maybe I have read too much amazing contemporary mysteries involving crime, guilt, and secrets.