Saturday, 15 October 2016

Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land - Chilling and terrifying

My thoughts

Phew!! Good Me Bad Me is not an easy read yet it is so compelling and chilling I really couldn't put it down. It's a hugely accomplished debut novel I'm proud to help others discover, from an author I'm honoured to claim I was one of the first to read.

This novel takes the reader on a truly chilling and terrifying journey into the psyche of an abused child. Annie, the teenage daughter of a cruel and horrifying Mother has a new identity to protect her whilst her mother stands trial for murder - and not just any old murder - the murder of 9 innocent little children.

Annie has now become Milly and she’s trying to put the past behind her, but many events haunt her and won't let her make a complete clean break with her depraved upbringing.

The ominous and macabre voice of Milly's mother haunts her dreams and subconscious and for all she hates what her parent has done and what she made Milly herself do, she still can't get over the fact that this woman gave birth to her and was her Mum and there are massive conflicts of feeling towards her. The in depth detail of her crimes is mercifully sketched over on the main part though perhaps all the more terrifying for allowing our imaginations to run riot, furnishing the grim facts and embellishing what we know with what we fear.

Milly has been placed in a temporary foster home whilst her mother awaits trial for the cruel and calculated murder of many young children.  Crimes to which Milly was perhaps the only witness, possibly an accomplice she was forced into being an accessory to unspeakable acts under threat of the same being done to her.

Having found the courage to speak up at last, it’s understandable that she is racked with guilt and shame deeply affected by her dreadful childhood. No wonder the foster home she’s placed in has at its head an experienced psychologist who tries to help young Milly come to terms with her own past.

No wonder either that Milly finds it a little difficult to get along with Phoebe the daughter of the foster household, she dreams of having a sister but Phoebe resents her and conflict is the last thing Milly needs, all she really wants  is to be loved, she's a very lonely and confused 15 year old girl who will make your arms ache to hold her, your heart bleed for the childhood which was stolen from her and just occasionally she will make your blood run cold, with her memories, thoughts and behaviour. I was SO rooting for her and felt every moment of anguish alongside her.

Milly's voice is utterly real and believable and despite her being a young girl this is no teenage angst, coming of age story, she has truly had the upbringing from Hell. It's about your past shaping you and the inescapable truth that blood is thicker than water.

When she is good she's very good, but when she's not, is she bad or just very sad?

This is a blow your mind, totally twisty psychological fairground ride, you'll eagerly clamber on and once you get going you'll scream to get off again, but there's no escape from the past, so you'll just have to stay with it right to the tantalizing bitter end.

My advance copy was kindly provided by Netgalley from the publishers Michael Joseph at Penguin to whom I apologize for not reading it sooner but it was well worth the anticipation and wait.

The blurb: taken from Goodreads

SET TO BE ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY, CONTROVERSIAL AND EXPLOSIVE DEBUTS OF 2017 - for fans of quality psychological suspense and reading group fiction: once you read this book you'll want to talk about it.

'NEW N A M E .
S H I N Y.
ME . '

Annie's mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother's daughter...

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