Title: The July Girls
Author: Phoebe Locke
Publisher: Headline, Wildfire
Publication Date: 25th July 2019
Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.
Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.
Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .
I read The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke when it first came out and I absolutely loved it, so my expectations for The July Girls were high, and I’m pleased to say those expectations were met – and then some. The story follows Addie and her sister Jessie, whose mercurial and changeable father is keeping secrets. There is also a serial killer stalking London and killing a girl every July 7th. I really don’t want to give much away but lets just say things develop in a twisty and sinister way.
One of the things that Locke does so well is atmosphere. Right from the very beginning of The July Girls I could feel a creeping sense of unease. There is an unsettling atmosphere thats seeps off the pages and will get into the readers mind. Additionally, Addie is an intriguing character to follow. I loved the evidently strong bond between her and her sister, who has in reality been more of a mother figure. Their relationship is the heart of the book and I thought it felt authentic and complex. Another thing I loved about Addie was her love for reading. It made me instantly feel a connection to her and I’m sure most book lovers will feel the same. The development of Addie’s character as she grows up and begins to uncover some deeply sinister truths was consistently compelling.
The July Girls is constructed in a different way to most thrillers. This genre can occasionally feel predictable in some ways but this book doesn’t fall into that trap. I felt on edge the entire time I was reading and I genuinely couldn’t guess the direction the book would take. A couple of twists really took me by surprise and Locke did a great job weaving in the very real 7/7 London attacks which makes the story hit home just a little harder.
The July Girls is an unusual and well written psychological thriller which I think will resonate with many readers. I adore the way Locke creates real tension through her writing and I thoroughly recommend giving this book a go!
The July Girls by Phoebe Locke
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.
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