Title : All The Wicked Girls
Author : Chris Whitaker
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Publisher : Zaffre Publishing in 2017
All The Wicked Girls is the story of a young girl, Summer, who has gone missing in a small town named Grace in Alabama. There have been other disappearances before Summer and no one as yet knows who the kidnapper is. The plot follows her sister, Raine, and a few others who are searching for Summer. The book is set in 1995. This is Chris Whitaker’s second novel.
This is a fantastic crime novel, it is one of the most beautifully written and atmospheric thrillers I have ever read. Whitaker is an exceptional talent. The setting is so evocative of the typical small town in the American South. It feels almost claustrophobic with so much tension and so many emotions taking place in one town. The characters are unusual and realistic and I felt such a strong connection to almost every single one of them. The book mainly focuses on Raine, the twin sister of the missing girl and two teenage boys named Noah and Purv who are best friends and assist her in searching for her sister. The friendship between Noah and Purv is filled with heart and was one of my favourite parts of the book. In fact, every relationship here is so skilfully drawn and full of complexity. I genuinely cared so much about these characters and what happened to them. There is a gothic dark atmosphere running throughout the whole novel and Whitaker’s beautiful prose is so skilful at capturing this, however despite the many intense themes the book touches on the novel never feels depressing or overwhelmingy dark. Whitaker manages to imbue the story with small nuggets of humour which are so clever and funny and which lighten even the darkest of moments. The book is set in 1995 and this is clear and effective without being over the top, it feels genuine. The mystery is fascinating and has enough twists to keep the reader hooked but the real pleasure in All The Wicked Girls comes from the way the author has brought this whole town to life so perfectly in the readers mind and at the end of the book I didn’t want to leave it. I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say about this beautiful book and I will be anxiously awaiting any new piece of work from this author. This novel is so, so much more than a typical crime novel.