Today’s book review of a contemporary young adult crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options are listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
Synopsis: Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl in the woods behind her house, the place she played in as a child. She’s sure he’s innocent, but what did happen? Determined to find out and afraid of what she might discover. Emily seeks out the boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But Damon Hillary has his own secrets about the dangerous games that are being played in the dark.
Review (of the audiobook)
The novel starts in the point of a teenager, Emily, with her misunderstanding of her ex-solider father’s placing of a body in their kitchen and her comparison of the body to a deer he’d killed months before.
The story then alternates from her point of view to a male teen, the dead girl’s boyfriend, Damen, trying to recall the drunken night before. Then the events are revealed to him and we see the schoolgirl’s death and the woods themselves.
It’s unusual that there is no narrator and while there are some clichés, they’re told through the teens’ viewpoint so more forgivable. That said, it became irritating that every chapter was headed by the character’s names because we can hear whether it’s the girl or boy speaking. While Emily was quite endearing, I didn’t enjoy the Damen chapters.
There are some great phrases including, ‘Leaving the memory of my hand on the glass’ and the quality of the writing’s not bad but it should have been more thoroughly edited for pacing.
YA novels aren’t my first choice of a read and although I’m quite a tough cookie, it was too graphic (not a fan of vomiting or swearing overload).
It’s so detailed that it feels far too slow at times but lovers of description would probably like it. I, however, didn’t and after the first fifth of the book just being the two characters analysis the situation, I stopped caring… and stopped listening.
It’s not often that I give up on a book but as the cliché goes, life’s too short.
Rating: 1 out of 5 (Goodreads’ average is 3.5/5)
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. The option is near the top of the right-hand vertical menu.
You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.
For anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.
If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.