GOOD ME, BAD ME
All teenage girls have their secrets, but 15-year-old Milly’s is diabolical. Her mother is a serial killer who’s dubbed the ‘Peter Pan Killer’ by an excited media – the victims were nine small children. Milly turned her mother in to the police herself and, her true identity concealed, has been fostered by an affluent West London family.
However, Milly’s new home isn’t quite the safe haven she’d hoped for. The motivation of the father, Mike, a psychotherapist, isn’t as clear-cut as pure altruism, while matriarch Saskia is a booze-addled mess, and their daughter, Phoebe, is a vicious bully, one whose calculated cruelties towards the incomer are brilliantly drawn.
As her mother’s trial approaches, Milly attempts to assimilate into her new family and school are hampered by the scarring reality of her upbringing.
As Milly narrates the story, chillingly addressing her absent mother throughout, the horrors of her past are revealed by a sinister drip feed of memories. Although her plight wrenches the heart, Milly’s damaged psyche gradually raises questions about her complicity.
Subject matter doesn’t come much darker and every perfectly paced page seethes with menace and tension. An incredibly powerful debut that’s, in turn, disturbing, heart-rending and haunting.