A real page-turner, good fun to read.
Generally speaking, I'm not a mad fan of the suspense / crime genre, but I'm always happy to give any book a try, especially if it's got some good reviews.
I commenced reading The Girl Who Lived with the expectation that it would comply with the standard genre formula, but offer a gripping, fast-paced read. It didn't disappoint. Yes, it was marginally formulaic, but I had a lot of fun reading it!
It starts in an institution for people with severe mental health problems; and that's where we first meet Faith; a twenty-something year old girl with a seriously troubled past. It transpires that her sister and father were murdered in front of her, as was her friend and her mother. The only thing Faith remembers clearly is 'Rat Face', a nasty-looking, thin faced man who was there at the time.
On her release, Faith swears to stay off the booze, and not go looking for revenge - both promises that she fails to keep. She starts to see Rat Face everywhere, and worse still, he's pursuing her...
Let's start with what was good about this book. I liked Faith a lot. She's brittle, aggressive and completely unapologetic; and I like that the author didn't soften her up or dumb her down. Why should a protagonist have to be likeable, anyway? This made the trauma that she'd suffered feel far more authentic.
It was a well-crafted, well-paced read too. At no point was I bored, and I kept those pages turning, keen to find out what was going to happen next. I also didn't guess the final ending, which is always a good thing.
However, I had some minor issues with the final pages (and this is so often the problem for me, when reading books like this!). I found it very over-sensationalised and too twisty-turny to comprehend. In short, my disbelief can only be suspended so far, and with this book, it snapped quite a way before the end.
There were a few other points where I felt this too - that certain scenarios just didn't feel credible. But I am fully prepared to admit that this is due to me questioning things too much, and other readers may be far happier to go along for the ride without over-thinking it all!
To conclude? It's a good example of a book of this genre, done in an entertaining, engaging way. If you're in love with this style of book, it's definitely one to add to the list.