Updated: Aug 5, 2019
A fabulously creative and cleverly layered psychological thriller.
A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy she won’t tell anyone her name, her age or where she came from. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. Evie initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, and forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he has ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying and no one around her seems to be telling the truth.
Meanwhile, Cyrus is also called to investigate the mysterious death of a high school figure-skating champion. Jodie Sheehan is murdered on a dark footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate good girl, but as Cyrus investigates, a secret life emerges. A man haunted by his own tragic family history, Cyrus is caught between with the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice.
Good Girl, Bad Girl is fabulously creative and cleverly layered. The title suggests a story of a good girl and a bad girl, but which is which? We see the lives of both girls either transformed or be revealed to be something different than our stereotypical expectations. Masterfully done!
The characters were well-developed and delightful complicated. Evie’s past and her ability to determine if someone is telling the truth is intriguing. Jodie’s secrets are astounding, and Cyrus’s family’s past is exceedingly dramatic. All three characters leave you wanting to know more. I particularly loved the growth of the relationship between Evie and Cyrus and Cyrus’s persistence in finding Jodie’s murderer.
The writing was both grabbing and consuming. The suspense of Jodie’s death kept me on edge the entire book. I thought I figured it out time and time again, but I was always wrong. Impressively elusive!
My favorite part was when Evie wonders if this is what happiness feels like, as she sits on the back porch steps in her pajamas, wrapped in a blanket next to Poppy, a foster Labrador whose tail is thumping as Evie scratches her behind her ears. It is here that you truly realize how evasive happiness has been for Evie. This one small scene evokes tremendous sympathy, compassion and understanding. Stellar and pivotal!
This was my first novel by Australian born author Michael Robotham and I am now a fan. He began his career as a newspaper journalist in 1979 and became a ghost writer in 1993 collaborating with politicians and celebrities to write their autobiographies. His first novel was THE SUSPECT (2005) which became an international bestseller. GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL is his 14th psychological thriller. Robotham’s website spins this book as “a new series. a new mystery. a new hero.” You’ll want to read it now, this may be the beginning of something special!
Thanks to NetGalley, Scribner and Michael Robotham for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Published July 23, 2019