GOOD ME, BAD ME

Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - By DEIRDRE O’BRIEN BY ALI LAND

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.

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