Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

GoodGirlBadGirlGood Girl Bad Girl was a very good read, clever in concept and a great introduction to two characters that I strongly hope are going to feature in more novels.  Part murder mystery, part unsolved child abduction case the two threads are brought together by the central character, Cyrus Haven.  Cyrus is a Forensic Psychologist who works with the police on occasion and also assists at a Children’s Home.

So, how to break this one down quickly, concisely and without spoilers.

First, the central focus of the story revolves around the assault and murder of a young woman called Jodie.  Jodie is a figure skater with a great deal of promise.  Cut down in her prime the case garners a lot of media attention and Cyrus is called in to assist the police with profiling.

Secondly we have a young woman called Evie Cormac who lives under the care of the Children’s Facility that Cyrus works for.  Evie is something of a conundrum.  Abrasive and very secretive.  She never answers any questions with a straightforward reply, she tells blatant untruths and can be aggressive to anybody who she thinks has done her a disservice.  Unbeknownst to most people Evie is actually ‘Angel Face’.  Years ago a body was found, tortured in an abandoned house.  Living secretly in the house was a young girl who was discovered weeks after the discovery of the murder victim.  Malnourished and a little bit wild she was, in the face of no other identifying information, dubbed ‘Angel Face’.  A few years down the line her identity is a closely kept secret – but Evie, as she is now known, wants to be allowed to live as an adult, free from care.  Of course some of her carers believe she won’t be able to handle the responsibility and so a court case is pending to decide her fate, with Cyrus called in for his professional judgement.  The most surprising thing about Evie is that she has a disconcerting knack of determining whether somebody is telling the truth or not and she is never wrong.

In a rash move, during the court case,  Cyrus agrees to foster Evie as a compromise when the court determines she is not yet 18. This allows Evie a certain amount of freedom and a halfway return to the world.  Of course, Cyrus hasn’t really thought this through.  He’s lived on his own for a good number of years.  His own situation being quite extraordinary in itself. Most of his family were murdered a number of years ago by his own brother – in fact Cyrus returned from football practice to find the slaughter.  He has a strong friendship with the police woman who helped him at the time and this in turn led to his desire to train as a psychologist.

I enjoyed this, I thought it was really well written and it had plenty of intriguing elements that kept me pretty much glued to the page.  I would just mention that this isn’t a particularly fast read in fact the pacing felt a little slow in the first half but just stick with it because things do pick up in the second half.  I guess, in fairness to the author, he has a lot of work to do setting up all these characters in a way that makes them relatable  and likable at the same time as displaying their flaws and hang ups and to be fair, I feel like the introduction to the two central characters is more important to the story than the actual murder mystery.

The world building is easily achieved.  This is a modern setting involving a police investigation at the same time as following Cyrus as he finds himself a guardian for a young woman who he knows next to nothing about.  Basically, both of these characters are dealing with their own issues so you might imagine things are not always straightforward.

In terms of the characters.  I found myself liking both Cyrus and Evie.  Evie can be a little bit abrasive to say the least, she gives away very little about herself and it’s not always clear if this is deliberate or whether she simply doesn’t recall the details of her early life.  I guess you could say, on the face of it, that Cyrus is easier to like, he really does try to do the best for Evie but you have to recall he has lived alone for a long time with his own miserable past.  Evie, like I said, she has a wall of thorns around her heart but, two things, firstly, she starts to melt a little bit and realises the chance that Cyrus is giving her, not to mention the recognition that it isn’t easy for him and secondly – she loves dogs.  Enough said.

So, overall, I found this a really good read.  I think the only criticisms that I could make would be the pacing, which didn’t really make me want to put the book down more than that it surprised me that I didn’t seem to be moving forward with the book as I expected.  I think maybe I was reading this slower myself for some reason although I was very keen to know what was going on.  And, there is definitely an element of left open threads – which personally I’m hoping means that this won’t be the last we see of Cyrus or Evie.

A good read and one that I hope will have a sequel or sequels.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating is 3.5 of 5 stars

 

 

 

17 Responses to “Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham”

  1. Shalini

    Great review… This has mixed reviews… So I am unsure. Will buy in a sale

    • @lynnsbooks

      Good plan – or the library? I enjoyed this, it has a lot going for it and I liked the two central characters but the pacing at the beginning feels slow and so it certainly wasn’t a quick read.
      Lynn 😀

      • Shalini

        Don’t have libraries in my country 🤷‍♀️ I have it on amazon wishlist every day I check prices

      • @lynnsbooks

        I do the same – although I do have libraries – they don’t always have the books I want as quickly as I want them!
        Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I can see why this might be a slower read, there seems to be an awful lot going on!

    • @lynnsbooks

      There is – and in fairness it’s very well done, I think the author was really trying to establish the two main characters and I think He did a good job tbh – I would definitely like to see more.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The uneven pacing might present a problem for me, but the story sounds like an intriguing one, so I would certainly give this one a try. Thank you so much for reviewing it! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it wasn’t really bad so perhaps I over played it a little. A good read and I think the author was working hard to esablish the two central characters.
      Lynn 😀

  4. sjhigbee

    Excellent review, Lynn. I would find the issues with the pacing rather annoying, where I think it is important in a mystery/whodunit. Nonetheless, it sounds an interesting read.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, they weren’t a massive problem, I just felt there was a lull and I think partly that is because the author is establishing these two characters quite firmly with the expectation of seeing more from them – I hope so anyway.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I hope so, too – given how attached you have become to these characters:)

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This one’s new to me, I like the sound of the premise but a shame it didn’t read faster. I’m still very interested though!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I like the set up for the two main characters and hope that they’re going to pop up again. There was a little bit of a lull for this – but I think the author was trying to really establish things which did come across a little.
      Lynn 😀

  6. waytoofantasy

    Sounds like a pretty interesting one, glad you enjoyed it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was good, I would definitely read more with these two characters.
      Lynn 😀

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    […] Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham […]

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