Girl Unknown by Karen Perry | Book Review

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.

Book review 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.

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