An explosive tale of desire, secrets and hard-nosed commerce, “Killing The Girl” is a psychological thriller like no other. It begins with a coming-of-age story. Fifteen-year-old Carol Cage lives in a council house on the edge of Bristol. A tomboy whose older brothers have taught her to drive, she loves nothing better than taking the wheel of a car or scrumping apples with her best friend. Local farmer’s son, Perry, his crush on Carol painfully obvious, holds no attraction for her. Childhood mischief comes to an end, however, when Carol falls under Frankie’s spell. Nineteen-year-old Frankie is visiting a relative whose posh house nearby is a mirage of unattainable wealth to the council kids. He seems impossibly handsome and sophisticated.
It doesn’t take long for the reader, or indeed many of the adult characters in the book, to realise that Frankie is just using Carol. However, Carol is besotted and ignores all the well-intentioned warnings until she finds out the hard way. Then, nightmarishly, she attacks Frankie when he pushes her too far.
Love or Money?
Perry is Carol’s saviour, helping her cover up Frankie’s death. He claims it is because his father’s farm would face impossibly steep outgoings if land that Carol has inherited falls into new hands. Although undeniably true, it is also clear that Perry still carries a torch for Carol – a torch that burns for nearly five decades while they co-exist as neighbours. Then the council announces it will build a ring road through the land where Frankie is buried. Can Carol continue to escape justice?
The Corpse Count Rises
Once the bulldozers move in, more secrets are revealed. There are heart-stopping moments as Carol unravels the hidden agendas of those she has loved and trusted. The story, written from Carol’s point of view, portrays her as a mild-mannered woman buffeted by the whims of others. However, the corpse count keeps rising…
Although this is Carol’s story, the supporting characters are sharply observed and interesting, too. Even the gloriously-named socialite Izzy Dewberry-Newberry is well-described in a couple of lines. Likewise, the social mores of the 1970s – the acceptance of drink-driving, the Bristol tobacco factory jobs handed down from one generation to the next – leap from the page. Exquisitely written, full of surprises as layers of secrets and lies are peeled back, “Killing The Girl” is a page turner par excellence. Elizabeth Hill is definitely a writer to watch.
Like Elizabeth Hill, I’m a British thriller writer. If you love a suspense-filled story uncovering secrets of the past, try “The Vodka Trail”. Vodka salesman Marty Bridges couldn’t save his business partner’s life. Blamed by the dead man’s daughter for his death, Marty finds new evidence – but dare he tell her?