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Book DetailsISBN: 9781922330499
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Book Review: Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke - Reviewed by CloggieA (29 Apr 2021)
4.5?s Girl, 11 is the first novel by US-born author, Amy Suiter Clarke. Ten unsolved abductions that began almost a quarter of a century earlier, nine young women murdered, justice not done, a killer still free to roam the streets and pick off new victims: Elle Castillo has had excellent success with her true-crime podcast, Justice Delayed, and now she’s determined to apply the power of new technology, and tap into the vast potential resource that is the listening audience, to solve these crimes.
The murderer was dubbed The Countdown Killer when it was noted the age of his victims decreased by a year each time. Elle’s investigations uncover some new information, and serve to remind the public of the facts of the case. Between 1996 and 2000, ten females were taken, but the abductions inexplicably stopped after an eleven-year-old girl was taken.
When Elle goes to meet with a podcast subscriber claiming to know who TCK is, she is shocked to find him shot dead. He sounded genuine, but his fear was palpable during his phone call, and his mentions of concern for “her” have Elle worried: could this be TCK shutting down a possible lead?
When Commander Ayaan Bisha, head of Crimes Against Children, invites Elle to consult on the abduction of an eleven-year-old girl at the request of her parents, Elle does not hesitate: she has experience with abductions. She is soon convinced the girl was taken by TCK but a previous near miss on her part makes Ayaan wary. Until another girl goes missing, this one is much closer to home for Elle. Has the TCK started again? Or is it a copycat?
The story is told over several time periods, in straight narratives, flash-backs and transcripts of Elle’s podcasts which feature interviews with relatives and friends of victims, former police detectives, a medical examiner, a psychiatrist, and the only surviving victim. This format has been done before, but certainly not as well as Suiter Clarke does it.
Suiter Clarke slowly feeds the facts to the reader, building the tension up to a nail-biting climax, all the while keeping the reader guessing with distractions and red herrings, twists and turns. Her characters have depth and appeal enough to have the reader concerned for their fate and cheering them on. More of Elle Castillo and her investigative podcasts would be welcome. This is an excellent crime fiction debut. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and the publisher.
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