January has been SUCH a good book month for
me! Book number six of the month, I’m very pleased to say, was just as good as
those prior to it. Thank you very much to the team at Penguin Random House for
my review copy of Girl Unknown by Karen Perry.
This story intrigued me from the outset- set
in Ireland, a young girl, Zoë, turns up at the office of her history university
tutor, convinced that he is her father. Upon further discussion it is indeed
believed to be the case and David, one of our protagonists, finds himself under
the strain of getting to know his long lost daughter and the affects that this
has on his wife and other children. Needless to say, things start to appear odd
and, amidst a Christmas Day suicide attempt from Zoë, the family find
themselves with a new member. Caroline has her doubts about the sincerity of
Zoë, believing that there is definitely more to her and her story than meets
the eye. She finds that Zoë is cold and untrusting of her, manipulative and
callous: at one point, Zoë causes herself physical harm and makes out to David
that it was Caroline that made it happen. She is right, of course, not to trust
Zoë and eventually, the lies and the cracks start to appear.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt such strong
emotions towards a single character before, much less the sheer dislike I felt
towards Zoë. Her portrayal was fantastic, the antagonistic side of her blatant
and well executed. Everything she did, without spoiling too much, irritated me
on a ridiculous scale. I think it’s pretty fair to say that it’s been a long
time since I’ve read a psychological thriller with such an obviously vindictive
and conniving character. She eventually commences a relationship with David’s
best friend, a much older man, and moves out of the family home, despite both
David and Caroline’s protests. The couple surprise David and Caroline and their
children whilst away in France- and then everything changes and nothing can go
back to how it was before.
I am not exaggerating when I describe this
book as fantastic. I completely and utterly devoured it in a single sitting.
Everything I look for when reading thrillers was readily there – it was full of
intrigue, unpredictable and kept me hooked right until the – unexpected – twist
at the end. The characters and the plot were both incredibly: every single
character was one that I wanted to get to know on a deeper level and there were
absolutely no plot holes at the end of the story. Everything I had wanted to
know was answered in such an intriguing way. I enjoyed the shifting of
character perspectives throughout the tale; this definitely allowed for a quick
paced story and made it all the more “unputdownable.”
A fantastic tale with an ending that surprised
even the most inquisitive, doubting crime fiction lover.