“Good Me, Bad Me” is a debut books by Ali Land and it has quite a hype to the pre publication claims. The questions is does it live up to those claims? It is the story of Annie whose mother is a serial killer of children. In order to make the killing stop she goes to the police with her story. She is placed in a foster family in the time before the trial with a new name – Milly. This book is about her time up to and including the trial. It is about her time in a new school and her interactions with both people there and members of her foster family in the main.
I found the opening of this book extremely powerful. It was not an easy read and that is characteristic of this book as a whole. I imagine some people will find the writing style a little awkward. It was fine for me however there are times when it is simply “streams of consciousness”. In places it is simply words rather than sentences. For me that made for a very powerful immediacy. It made for pace, dread, fear, worry.
And in the style of the book
Things said, things thought or was that said
Will Joe get there, will there be blood, stop reading, can’t, don’t want to
The majority of psychological thriller/crime fiction you think “but that couldn’t really happen”. After finishing this one I’m not sure if I can say that – that is clever writing. I’m always wary of books that make claims about themselves before they come out. I very nearly didn’t read this simply for that reason. However I think this one may be one of the rare beasts that live up to the hype. This is an edge of the seat read much of the time. It was hard to put down particularly towards the end. I found it an uncomfortable read at times however that appears to have been the author’s intention and it was well done.
It is certainly one of the best books I’ve read in the last twelve months. It works just fine as a thriller plain and simple. However, if you are able to detach yourself from the drama for a moment I found it worked for me on a deeper level too. I found comparisons and contrasts between Milly, Phoebe and Annie’s mother interesting and thought provoking.
Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review