“Sometimes Ordinary Lives Hide the Darkest Secrets”
“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 . . .
A gripping crime novel with a huge heart, this is the second novel from the exceptionally talented Chris Whitaker.
I don’t even know how I can do this novel justice, I thought it was brilliant, five-stars of brilliant-ness, so just know regardless of what follows, I highly, highly recommend you read this book. This was my first novel by Whitaker, I’d seen his previous novel – ‘Tall Oaks’ – getting rave reviews, and then to follow, All The Wicked Girls started receiving rave reviews too, so going into this novel, my expectations were super high. And isn’t it just wonderful when a novel not only meets, but exceeds, your expectations!?
All The Wicked Girls is a small town mystery, one that is instantly gripping. Before we get to the plot itself, Whitaker’s writing style is a joy to read, the dialect brought these characters to life. The prose flowed beautifully and even though the plot was dark at times, the writing remained beautiful.
Now, the plot itself, immediately gets praise because I couldn’t figure it out. But more than the mystery itself, I adored the characters in this novel, not that I liked them all but I thought they were well-rounded, like Whitaker had in mind the characters he wanted to create and really allowed you, as the reader, to get to know them; their actions were exactly what you’d expect them to do, without being predictable.
Noah, a young boy who helps Raine in her search for her sister was my favourite character, he quietly stole my heart, so willing to please and eager to help, despite his own troubles. Interestingly, I didn’t find Raine particularly likeable, but that didn’t matter here because I felt her strength and determination to find her sister, and I had Noah to dote on.
In a close-knit community, everyone knows everyone’s business and, as the reader, you get to know everyone’s business too – this makes All The Wicked Girls an intimate read. It was also an extremely atmospheric read, it was like the entire plot, the characters, the town, everything, was cloaked in sadness – a kind of sadness that touches you and makes this the ‘novel with a huge heart’ it is described as.
Summer and Raine, beautiful names. Grace, a beautiful name for a town. But a storm is coming and when the storm clears, the truth will out…