All The Wicked Girls
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All The Wicked Girls : The addictive thriller with a huge heart, for fans of Lisa Jewell

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For fans of Lisa Jewell, Holly Seddon and Local Girl Missing, All the Wicked Girls is a gripping thriller with a huge heart from an exceptional talent.

Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she's a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama - especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine. Then Summer vanishes.

Raine throws herself into the investigation, aided by a most unlikely ally, but the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her search becomes.

And perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .


'A very real, very rare talent' SARAH HILARY

'Wonderful' M. R. CAREY

'Amazing' LISA HALL

'Gripping and heartbreaking' DEBORAH O'CONNOR

'Phenomenal' JO SPAIN

'Stunning' MICHELLE DAVIS

'Remarkable' MIKE THOMAS
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 25mm | 326g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1785761528
  • 9781785761522
  • 340,025

Review Text

For fans of The Roanoke Girls and Fargo, All the Wicked Girls is a gripping crime novel with a huge heart from an exceptional talent.

'A very real, very rare talent' SARAH HILARY

'Wonderful' M. R. CAREY

'Amazing' LISA HALL

'Gripping and heartbreaking' DEBORAH O'CONNOR

'Phenomenal' JO SPAIN

'Stunning' MICHELLE DAVIS

'Remarkable' MIKE THOMAS
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Review quote

Chris Whitaker is leading the pack of hungry young crime writers by a long mile. He writes like a dark angel, conjuring characters and places so memorable you'll ache when it's over. A very real, very rare talent * Sarah Hilary * A novel you swallow whole because you can't help yourself, and then go back a second time to savour what you missed. Wonderful * M. R. Carey, author of The Girl with All the Gifts * Riveting read. A psychological thriller that stands out from the mass - stylishly written, with a slick command of language and location, and a great 'missing girl' mystery at its core. Great stuff! * Vaseem Khan * This book blew me away. Extraordinarily good. Gripping and heartbreaking * Deborah O'Connor * Phenomenal * Jo Spain * BOOK OF THE MONTH - Chris Whitaker's stunning debut Tall Oaks featured a quirky mix of poignancy and humour that sticks hard in my memory and his rapid follow-up offers much of the same, but with the comedic elements gently muted: tortured souls, a police officer who can't disentangle the personal from the professional, missing persons, the oppressive background of small-town America and a merciless journey through every stage of personal grief. Despite the outward similarities, it's a major achievement. Following the disappearance of her much-loved model sister Summer in the wake of five other church-attending young women from the area similarly gone missing, misfit Raine seeks out the truth and uncovers layers of secrets and everyday evil in her Alabama town. Bleak, involving, a delicately sketched portrait of bigotry and prejudice and human emotions dancing the light fantastic, this renews a tired genre with a dose of heart and empathy which appears to be becoming Whitaker's forte -- Maxim Jakubowski * Crimetime * All the Wicked Girls is impossibly good. And beautiful. And melancholy, utterly compelling and difficult to describe. I love this book . . . All the Wicked Girls is in my top ten books I've read ever let alone this year. And trust me that's a lot of competition to overcome . . . Chris Whitaker is annoyingly talented. I won't say highly recommended it seems inadequate. Pure magic on the page * Liz Loves Books * I loved it SO much. Chris is so amazing. He just has this real knack of creating characters that you're completely engaged with . . . I was hooked by his beautiful prose and by the end I was absolutely ruined by the heartbreaking storyline. If only he could write ten books a year * Lisa Hall * Stunning * Michelle Davies * A remarkable book that made me blub * Mike Thomas * I was savouring each page/chapter and character . . . because each page is a literal work of art. Chris Whitaker has the ability to pick up the reader and transport them into the fictional small town of Grace, swelter in the heat, feel the fear and tension amongst the town folk and connect with the characters . . . A beautifully written story of love, friendship, beliefs, fear, passion and I'm not embarrassed to say I cried at the end * Compulsive Readers * This is a crime novel, a love story of sisters, a family torn apart. The story is told by each of the sisters in turn . . . Once started, it's a fast read. The characters are skilfully written, so it's easy to get lost in their lives . . . * Strong Book Reviews * Those missing Manny will warm to wannabe teenage policeman Noah, his sidekick Purv and Summer's sister Raine, who take the search into their hands with black humour and laugh out loud moments as well as real poignancy. There is a great bond which develops between these three damaged outsiders. I marvel at how authentic this British author's creation of small town America feels, in terms of speech, the environment, their cultural references and lives. The prejudices and obsessions of a small community are so effectively conveyed. It's a great read. Tall Oaks showed the potential but this is the Real Deal . . . * New Books Magazine * Incredibly intelligently plotted and amazingly descriptive and atmospheric. These characters will stay with you for a long time as the author really brings them to life. It's all incredibly realistic and believable as the town residents try to cope with the challenges life throws at them, with topics ranging from child abuse to drug addiction to dealing with the loss of a child. And yet somehow, the author manages to occasionally lighten the mood with brilliantly witty one-liners * Novel Delights * The next Gone Girl . . . an emotional read: I felt fully immersed in their lives * Look Magazine * On finishing All The Wicked Girls, I was left with that same sense of being part of something very, very unique . . . There is a very distinct style to Chris Whitaker's writing . . . All The Wicked Girls is a novel that you will become one with. The characters' emotions will become your emotions; Tragedy, grief, sorrow, regret, yet also, hope, self-discovery and atonement . . . A brooding, intense, incredible read! * Swirl and Thread * First things first, this novel is extremely dark, gritty and chilling. That's dark with a capital D by the way. If you thought you've read something dark before, think again . . . All the Wicked Girls is also highly addictive. I was really surprised by just how much it gripped me from start to finish. All I can say is that Chris Whitaker is an incredibly talented writer, I don't know how he traps you but it's some sort of magic * The Bookbag * Chris Whitaker writes superbly. As with Tall Oaks, I marvel at how this British author captures the mood and sound of an American small town . . . Just thinking about Noah, his courage, wisdom, kindness and deep heart, makes me want to weep. This is a novel that takes us into some very dark places. The melancholy of Grace goes far deeper than the storm that hovers over it. It is disturbing at times, there is no doubt of that, but it is also filled with a humanity despite its subject and I was held spellbound. There are so many reasons to read All the Wicked Girls but if I had to give you just one - well, two reasons - it would be to read it for Noah and Purv. I don't think I'll ever forget them * For Winter Nights * A riveting, fast-paced story and I rushed through it in order to find out what happened, finishing it in a single day. And whilst I had several theories as to how it would end, none of them were correct, something which pleased me greatly. This is another fantastic novel from Whitaker, and I can't wait to see what he does next * Jo's Book Blog * If you like your crime novels bleak and raw with a side of small town strife, this might be for you . . . I strongly feel that anyone who's a fan of Stephen King's Under the Dome will like this as well * Read, Eat, Sleep, Repeat * Tall Oaks was (and indeed is) astonishingly good. All The Wicked Girls is even better, filled with fantastic characters in a small-town America where Raine looks for her missing sister. Just buy it, thank me later * Espresso Coco * I marvel at how authentic the author's creation of small town America feels, in terms of speech, the environment, their cultural references and lives. The prejudices and obsessions of a small community is so effectively conveyed and I found the whole thing totally involving * Reviews Revues * One of my new favorite authors, I love the writing, mystery, and characters that inhabit the pages of Whitaker's books. And his mysteries fool me every time. Just fantastic! 5 Stars * It's Book Talk * Another brilliant book by Chris, All the Wicked Girls is a book I predict will be huge. It's definitely one of those books that you don't want to end. The only problem is now that I've finished is that I have to wait for Chris's next book; I can't wait to see what he does next * Jacob reviews books * Small town America has never been portrayed so brilliantly . . . His writing is intense and his voice is wholly unique. His characterization is flawless . . . He writes thrillers that make you feel all of the feelings . . . He takes intricate plotting to a new level * Novel Gossip * Chris Whitaker creates characters as real as your very own friends, places as real are the town you live in and plots that make you marvel at the sheer genius of the mind behind it all... Chris Whitaker could write just about anything and I'd want to read it. Intricately plotted and beautifully written, All the Wicked Girls is spectacular. I can't recommend it highly enough. A wonderfully dark, gripping, nuanced novel. I loved it! * Ronnie Turner blog * This new book is exquisitely written, with the darkest of hearts, but so beautiful and human and moving that it has been reducing people - me included - to tears. There is writing here that makes your jaw drop, and fills you with joy, and makes you close your eyes and wish that you had the ability to craft something as achingly gorgeous....It is a study of marginalised folk, of broken dreams, of haunted people just trying to get by. It is uplifting and funny and sad. And it is about friendship and lust and grief and the things we will do for our loved ones, no matter how dark the path it takes us down. But in short, All the Wicked Girls is a very special novel, from a very special writer * Mike Thomas * It's great writing, capturing the voices of the protagonists perfectly and deftly revealing the central mystery - what actually happened to Summer and the others? - only slowly, keeping the reader hooked throughout. This book is magnificent and I'd strongly recommend it. I'm off now to read Tall Oaks, Whitaker's first book * Blue Book Balloon * All The Wicked Girls is possibly one of the most incredible novels you will read this year. There is only one word that really sums it up effectively - and that word is powerful. There are some sentences that shock you with expletives and then there are some sentences that shock you with their beauty. This book does not have cliffhangers at the end of its chapters, it has something worse. It has sentences that make your stomach lurch and leave you breathless, blinking back tears as the poignancy, brutal honesty or sadness hits you. I think this novel is ambitious and complex in what it sets out to achieve....writing that is faultless * Bibliomaniac * It's hard these days to find a novel that is not derivative, but this is one of those rare beasts. Read it, not just for the story, but so that you devour the world Whitaker creates. A cracking novel * Frost Magazine * There are many well-defined characters in this amusing, powerful and compelling novel. The plot is well constructed and the writing zings * Crime Thriller Hound * This is one of those harrowing books that succeeds in making us care deeply about its thoroughly flawed, long-suffering protagonists. When resolution comes, it feels as if we too have been through the peril, the anguish, the storm and the shoot-out. Whether you experience it as a challenging crime drama, a masterful web of character studies or a dark and gritty movie running compellingly in your mind, All The Wicked Girls will have you gasping and wincing to the last page * My Weekly * All The Wicked Girls is a novel that you will become one with. The characters' emotions will become your emotions; Tragedy, grief, sorrow, regret, yet also, hope, self-discovery and atonement. A brooding, intense, incredible read! * Writing.ie * An intelligent and emotionally affecting crime novel which defies easy categorisation * Crime Fiction Lover * This is a novel that fulfils its purpose on every level; the setting, the characters and the story are all uniquely woven to form a masterful piece of work, and one which will live in my memory for a long time... an incandescent novel * The Book Club Cafe * I was gripped from the very beginning... It took turns I wasn't expecting and I just was so amazed at how brilliant this book was. I was left speechless after reading * The Reader's Corner * A tale as dark as the storm cloud, with chinks of light provided by the antics of Noah and Purv who, for me, steal the show. A highly original crime thriller * Daily Record * This is a crime story with a difference, a beautifully plotted, genuinely absorbing set of character studies, worked into a wider story of missing girls and religious fervour * Zainab's Blog * Below the surface of Chris Whitaker's story there is unexpected depth and richness. This is one of those harrowing books that succeeds in making us care deeply about its thoroughly flawed, long-suffering protagonists. It's hard to believe this book was written by a former City of London financial trader who lives in Hertfordshire, so complete is the immersion in another, utterly different place. Whether you experience it as a challenging crime drama, a masterful web of character studies or a dark and gritty movie running compellingly in your mind, All The Wicked Girls will have you gasping and wincing to the last page * My Weekly * All The Wicked Girls is a gripping thriller, but also a deeply emotional story with a big heart and characters you'll cry over. It's a thriller that explores the worst excesses of organised religion, but also the positives aspects of faith. Highly highly recommended! * Back To The Books * Chris Whitaker burst onto the literary scene last year with his rare and remarkable debut, Tall Oaks, announcing the arrival of a mercurial and exciting talent. From the first page, Whitaker effortlessly draws the reader into the heart of this world and his characters...his characterisation is unfaltering and hugely impressive and for me is the real standout trait of his fiction...Indeed, all of Whitaker's characters are engaging, flawed and authentic... He has an uncanny ability to pull on the heartstrings that again makes his books special. For me, Whitaker is a master of a style and genre all of his own. An impressive talent and an intuitive and distinctive writer, his first two novels are signs of a new star with a very bright future still to come * Nudge Books * very impressed by Whitaker's writing and Summer as a character in particular * Debbish.com * Whitaker really does have a talent in creating atmosphere. I felt fully absorbed and immersed in the dark world of Grace and what was happening there. I also really enjoyed the writing and especially Summer's chapters. * The Books Are Everywhere * At the heart of this story is an intricate mystery that put every single detective skill I think I have to the test and guess what?...I failed miserably. Chris Whitaker completely fooled me (again) and I couldn't be happier. In the end, this is a story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, redemption, and yes hope and I highly recommend it to everyone who's a fan of mysteries and memorable characters! So, yes it definitely lived up to my high expectations * It's Book Talk * All the Wicked Girls is quite slow and incredibly dark but the tension is palpable throughout. It's incredibly intelligently plotted and amazingly descriptive. These characters will stay with you for a long time as the author really brings them to life. It's all incredibly realistic and believable as the town residents try to cope with the challenges life throws at them, with topics ranging from child abuse to drug addiction to dealing with the loss of a child. And yet somehow, the author manages to occasionally lighten the mood with brilliantly witty one-liners * Novel Deelights * The setting is fantastically well done * Tamara Morning * It's certainly a book to immerse yourself in and I was surprised how moved I was by the whole dang thing. With his unique writing style and quirky stories, Chris Whitaker is definitely an author to watch out for * The Book Magnet * Dark, in every sense, evocative and the characters will break your heart * Tammy Cohen * 'For me it was what I call a one sit read and for most of it I was completely hooked...Whitaker is an amazing storyteller...It's totally amazing.' * Tracey Shepherd book blog * 'I absolutely adored this book and can only describe it as a chillingly addictive masterpiece...This is such a compulsive read, with its brilliant characterisation, dark themes and strong setting which really came to life for me.' * Chillers, Killers and Thrillers * 'I'm sure everyone who loves reading about a town filled with secrets will definitely enjoy this and be swept by Whitaker's ability to create such a thing.' * Breathing Through Pages * 'Whitaker has produced another top-notch small town American mystery, this time set in Alabama. The mixture of high tension in the town and the searing heat alongside the large cast of characters plus Summer and Raine's trio made this thriller a real page turner. Despite being British, Whitaker seems to have a real feel for small town American life. I can easily see both his novels on screen, large or small as he also has a strong visual element to his writing. I'll be looking out for whatever he does next. One of the best thrillers I've read this year..' * Annabel's House of Books * 'After reading All The Wicked Girls, I have fallen head over heels with this authors style of writing and want to read everything he has ever written! I was spellbound by this thriller with its all consuming build up taking over my entire life.Heartbreakingly perceptive, this deserves to be on everyone's "must reads" list this year as it comes highly recommended by me! One of the best books that I have featured on my blog since I started it and definitely a contender for my book of the year! This book is STUNNING, it's MAGNIFICENT and it broke my heart into a thousand tiny pieces...BUY IT NOW!!' * My Chestnut Reading Tree * 'This is a difficult one to review because it's just so good! Chris Whitaker's creation of characters is astute and shrewd. The inhabitants of Grace are alive in the page, and his sense of place is extraordinary. This author handles the darkest and most serious of issues, with sensitivity and with a dry wit that stops the novel from becoming too heavy, too oppressive. All The Wicked Girls is packed with dark, twisty danger. This is a riveting look at the tangled lives of a small American town.' * Random Things Through my Letterbox * I defy anyone to read Chris Whitaker and not feel they have been touched by genius to their very soul. All The Wicked Girls is utterly, utterly wonderful and I don't have sufficient words to do it justice * Linda's Bookbag * It's been awhile since I shed a tear reading a book, but Whitaker pushed me close. The characters were that real and that haunting. Guilt, secrets, love, loss, grief, awakening, maturity, friendship, community, family - all resonate strongly throughout * Col's Criminal Library * All the Wicked Girls was an utterly absorbing read. Once I started reading I didn't want to put it down, it's one of those books that you don't want to end. Great characters, great plot and a great setting, Chris Whitaker has become one of my favourite writers * Damp Pebbles * A psychological thriller that stands out from the mass - stylishly written, with a slick command of language and location, and a great 'missing girl' mystery at its core -- Vaseem Khan 'a crime writer with a unique voice and tone. We are in middle America, confronted by a case of missing persons, and with characters in turn quirky and possessed by demons. But where a Coben or a Linwood Barclay stick to classic tropes and well-engineered plotting, Whitaker prefers the detours and bizarros to bring his book and characters alive. Gripping, bleak and fascinating.' -- Maxim Jakubowski * CrimeFest Newsletter * 'nobody writes like he does...All the Wicked Girls is quite simply a stunning piece of literature. Read it, love it, you won't be able to help it.' * Liz Loves Books * This is a tightly woven tale of small-town prejudices with a fantastic cast and a skilfully constructed plot. You'll need to pay close attention if you want to second-guess this writer and the ending definitely had me turning the pages backwards looking for all the hints that I'd missed. If you love a mystery that keeps you guessing and a fantastic character-driven novel then look no further. All the Wicked Girls is a wickedly good read and I'm definitely addicted to Chris Whitaker - a British writer who's beating the American thriller writers at their own game * 17 Degrees Magazine * What a writer Chris Whitaker is. He can show such depth through even the shortest of sentences so that I found myself on a complete roller coaster of emotion. I laughed. I wept. My heart broke for so many of those between its pages that I'm not sure I'll ever be the same again. When I slept I dreamt of the characters as they had pervaded my soul so deeply. The plot is fabulous. Small town America lends itself to the claustrophobic feel so that the events fit the setting perfectly. At times I almost couldn't bear what I was reading. I can't explain more about the plot without spoiling the read but rest assured it is gripping, absorbing and brilliant. I defy anyone to read Chris Whitaker and not feel they have been touched by genius to their very soul. All The Wicked Girls is utterly, utterly wonderful and I don't have sufficient words to do it justice. * Linda's Book Blog * ...soon the darkness that's been hidden in Grace is visible to the whole world. There's a lot of twists in this novel, and the suspense will keep the reader gripping the pages to find out what's really going on. * Tomorrow is Another Day * When I love a book, I normally race through it. Not this time. I slowed down to savour it, to drink it all in. It's an extraordinary book and therefore, my top read for 2018. Brave and fierce, Chris, brave and fierce. * Joy Kluver * It's deep and complex, harrowing and heartbreaking, a story of a young girl's hunt for her missing sister in a small southern bible belt town. All The Wicked Girls sits firmly alongside Tall Oaks in my books of the year. As I said earlier, don't make me choose - buy both and settle down for some of the best storycrafting you're likely to see for a long time. * Espresso Coco * The sense of this place, the culture and the society in which the action takes place is palpable, uncomfortable and overwhelming. The characters all turn out to have hidden depths and secrets, and it often feels like the whole place is operating on lies. It's deep, dark and beautifully written, with not a hint of an outsider author. The message is, like the atmospherics, on the heavy side - part noir / part morality play, and because of that there's no way you could call this entertaining reading. ALL THE WICKED GIRLS is, however, extremely involving reading, requiring commitment on the part of the reader to empathise and eventually understand that not everything here is what it seems. * Aust Crime Fiction * Chris Whitaker's All the Wicked Girls gripped me from start to finish. A smouldering noir set in the suffocating heat of Grace, Alabama, (in a town that runs along the Red River. Great minds...) All the Wicked Girls is totally engrossing. Rich characters, twisting plot and beautifully written. It stands out as my favourite crime book published in 2017. * Dead Good Books, Amy Lloyd author of The Innocent Wife picks All the Wicked Girls as one of her books of the year * All the Wicked Girls will slowly get under your skin, it will creep up on you until you feel like you are in this town with these people and once it does it won't let you go. It's such a brilliantly, atmospheric thriller of a book and is one that I'm sure will stay with me for a very long time to come. It will definitely be on my top books of 2017 list and I honestly can't recommend it highly enough. If you haven't already read it, go buy a copy asap as you won't regret it! * Rather Too Fond of Books * Dealing with some difficult topics, there were a couple of times in the book when I felt my heart break. As Whitaker carefully plots the story with cleverly placed red herrings, I did not manage to guess what had happened to Summer Ryan. Brilliantly constructed, wonderfully written and yet heavily oppressive, All The Wicked Girls is a book that weighed heavy on my mind and that I came to appreciate more as I progressed through the book. A totally unique take on 'the missing girl' scenario * Bloomin Brilliant Books * Awesome book. Superbly written. A real work of art and a league above so much of the crime fiction out there * Neil White * Superb * Isabel Ashdown, author of Little Sister * Hauntingly beautiful, gripping, elegiac. Stunning writing. LOVED IT * Will Dean, author of Dark Pines * Whitaker has a unique voice that sets him apart from the rest of the pack of young crime writers, and I can't recall reading anything that comes close except for the inimitable James Lee Burke. As I read, I could hear the deep south voices and their rhythms, coursing through my mind. Glorious. But the highest praise I can give the author, is that he made me cry. And very few books do that * C.J. Carver, author of Spare Me The Truth * A highly original crime thriller * Daily Record * Deep, dark and beautifully written * AustCrime Fiction * I absolutely adored this book and can only describe it as a chillingly addictive masterpiece * Chillers, Killers and Thrillers * If you've read Tall Oaks, then you probably think you know what to expect from Chris Whitaker. Tall Oaks was laced with dark humour. But All The Wicked Girls is something else entirely. Without the humour to fall back on, Chris Whitaker's writing is laid bare and is not found wanting. Utterly beautiful. When I love a book, I normally race through it. Not this time. I slowed down to savour it, to drink it all in. It's an extraordinary book and therefore, my top read for 2018. * Joy Kluver * This is a great crime book but it is also fabulous fiction written with literary skill and finesse. It is raw, immersive, and powerful and invokes such emotion that it is impossible not to be affected by it. Incredibly well plotted it is both compelling and devastating. I don't think I have read anything so powerful in this genre all year. Chris Whitaker is simply an extraordinary talent. * Live and Deadly * There are serious themes touched upon within the story, none in a graphic or sensationalised way, and while you may think you know just why certain passages are included, I would wager that you really don't. Because, you see, Mr Whitaker has created a story which is at its heart both simplistic and complex. He has once again taken a series of individually haunting tales, or threads, and woven them together like a beautifully crafted tapestry, infusing it with dark, almost fragile humour, and creating yet another stunning story which is simply impossible to put down. Did I mention I loved it? Just checking. * Jen Med Book Reviews * A totally brilliant book... Beautiful writing and characters so well drawn they stay with you long after the final page -- Asia Mackay * The Big Issue *
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About Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker's debut novel, Tall Oaks, was published in 2016. It was a Guardian crime book of the month as well as featuring in Crime Time's top 100 books of 2016 and BuzzFeed's incredible summer reads. It won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and was shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award. All the Wicked Girls, Chris's second novel, was described by Maxim Jakubowski as, 'a major achievement' and by Look magazine as 'the next Gone Girl'. Chris lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.
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Rating details

530 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 31% (165)
4 31% (165)
3 28% (146)
2 6% (33)
1 4% (21)
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