First Monday Crime March @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is back on Monday, 1st March 2021 after a two month break. As it has been for a while now, it’s live on Facebook, so you can watch it from the comfort of your own home. This month we have an exciting line up which includes, Nadine Matheson author of The Jigsaw Man, Abigail Dean author of Girl A, Tim Glister author of Red Corona and Fermi Kayode author of Lightseekers. The panel is being moderated by Leye Adenle.

I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post but first let’s take a look at what the books are about.

There’s a serial killer on the loose.

When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.

The race is on before more bodies are found.

She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind . . .

Will it take a killer to catch the killer?

Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer?

If you’d like to read my review of The Jigsaw Man, you can do so by clicking here

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love.

If you’d like to read my review of Girl A, you can do so by clicking here.

It’s 1961 and the white heat of the Space Race is making the Cold War even colder.

Richard Knox is a secret agent in big trouble. He’s been hung out to dry by a traitor in MI5, and the only way to clear his name could destroy him.

Meanwhile in a secret Russian city, brilliant scientist Irina Valera makes a discovery that will change the world, and hand the KGB unimaginable power.

Desperate for a way back into MI5, Knox finds an unlikely ally in Abey Bennett, a CIA recruit who’s determined to prove herself whatever the cost…

As the age of global surveillance dawns, three powers will battle for dominance, and three people will fight to survive…

When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings – and their killers – are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why.

As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son’s murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon feels dramatically out of his depth.

Will he finally be able to uncover the truth of what happened to the Okiri Three?

If you’d like to access the event on Monday, 1st March, you can do so via the FirstMonday Crime Facebook page. I’ve included the link below so you can access the event. The panel starts at 7.30 p.m.

First Monday Crime

Girl A by Abigail Dean #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Abigail Dean, Girl A.

BLURB

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

MY THOUGHTS

There has been such a buzz surrounding Girl A by Abigail Dean, I knew I had to bump it right to the top of my TBR pile. This is a very dark read. It’s haunting and powerful, and in fact, as I was so immersed in the story, I didn’t want it to end.

We meet Lex, who has been dubbed ‘Girl A,’ by the press following her escape from her parents ‘house of horrors,’ when she was young. Now a successful lawyer living in New York, she has to come back to the UK, following her mother’s death, who has died in prison. Her mother has left the house they grew up in, to her and her siblings in her will. And now, coming back home, Lex once again has to face her past.

Abigail Dean’s writing draws you into her story right from the very first page. It’s not a fast paced read, but I found myself utterly gripped by the story and the characters. Lex was a character who I wanted to find out more about, and I wanted to know the full details of what had happened in her childhood. You can see just how uncomfortable she is about the idea of coming back home. She just wants the visit to be over and done with and to be allowed to get on with the rest of her life, and I couldn’t really blame her for thinking this way. She doesn’t want to hear anything about her mother’s final days. Some of the prison staff try to persuade her to think of her mother in a different light. They also, try to tell her how much they believe she has changed.

Abigail Dean gradually begins to reveal more information. In the flashback scenes, I found Abigail’s writing very intense as she explores the relationship between Lexie and her parents. In the present, we can see just how much the years spent with their parents have affected the children as adults.

I found I did struggle to feel any sympathy for Lex. She came across as very cold as I was reading the book. I felt this, especially when it seemed that she wasn’t too keen to spend time with the rest of her family.

Girl A is such a compelling read. I deliberately slowed down so that I could savour it and that doesn’t happen very often when I’m reading. I’m sure this is a book which I’ll keep returning to from time to time, and I can’t wait to see what Abigail Dean comes up with next. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 21st January 2021

Print length: 336 pages

Girl A is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones