Thursday 25 July 2019

Review ~ The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

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25 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

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.

What did I think about it..

July is not a safe month in the city of London because for several years on the same date a woman has been taken by a perpetrator who leaves no clues and who despite the best efforts of the police has never been found.

Since her mum left home, Addie has been brought up by her dad and older sister, Jessie. Addie and Jessie are particularly close knit, as Jessie, in the absence of their mum has done everything for Addie, from making sure that she was clothed and fed, to arriving at school on time, however, everything changes when, on Addie's tenth birthday, their dad comes home covered in blood.

What then follows is a particularly tense thriller which grips from the very beginning and which leads you into some very dark places. It's not really about what is happening with the investigation into the missing girls, but of course, that's always there in the background, it's rather more about how living under an air of suspicion affects both Jessie and Addie as they try to move forward.

I remember being really impressed with this author's debut novel, The Tall Man which was published in 2018 and which captured my imagination, the story's delicious creepiness made me jump at shadows, so I was really excited to read this, her second novel. In my opinion, The July Girls feels an altogether different read, it's very, very polished, and is written with such confidence, that I was absolutely bowled over, not just by the strength of the story, but of the author's uncanny ability to get right into the heart of such a deeply complex mystery, and by allowing everything to feel so beautifully authentic.

I'm not going to spoil it by recounting much about the nitty-gritty of the story but if you like unputdownable mysteries which capture your attention from the very beginning then I'm sure you'll love it as much as I did.  I started reading The July Girls early on a sunny day in the garden and didn't look up, except for restorative cups of tea, until I had finished the story in one sitting. It's definitely one of my best reads of the summer, so far ๐Ÿ’ฎ

The July Girls is published by Wildfire Books on the 25th September 2019

About the Author

Phoebe Locke is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. Phoebe Locke is the author of two psychological thrillers, THE TALL MAN, published 2018, and THE JULY GIRLS, out now.

Twitter @phoebe_locke #TheJulyGirls



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