Good girl, bad girl by Michael Robotham reviewed

Good girl, bad girl Book Cover Good girl, bad girl
Michael Robotham
Little, Brown Book Group UK
July 23, 2019

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth? Fiendishly clever, swiftly paced, and emotionally explosive, Good Girl, Bad Girl is the perfect thrilling summer read from internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham.

Good girl, bad girl by Michael Robotham is standalone thriller featuring some new characters who have not been in previous books. Cyrus Haven is a forensic psychologist who works for the police as well as having his own practice. Evie is a teenager who has had a very tough and traumatic life. They meet because a fellow psychologist has asked if Cyrus will assess and help Evie. At the same time Cyrus is asked to help the police with a missing girl case. The girl is found dead early on in the book. The story follows the two threads. Sometimes this is from Cyrus’s viewpoint and sometimes Evie, as Angel Face, is the narrator.

Evie is a “lie detector” or “truth wizard”. She can almost always tell if someone is lying to her. This is something that has cropped up in previous books by this author so is obviously something he is interested in. Cyrus himself had a very traumatic childhood and so feels he can relate to Evie. However Evie may not see things the same way. The thread concerning the girl who died is a fairly straightforward investigation – though with a number of twists and turns as well.

One of the obvious questions is just how will these two threads intersect. This is one of my main issues with Good Girl, Bad Girl. I found that the meeting of the threads felt very engineered. However I thought Evie was a very good character indeed. I would happily read another book that featured her. However my views on Cyrus are far more ambivalent. I didn’t dislike him however I’m not sure he fully convinced me.

Allowing for those reservations I found this a compelling and easy read. Michael Robotham writes extremely well. Even a less good book from him is far more readable than some of books I see these days. Ultimately I enjoyed reading this a lot – my reservations about it are small. I certainly hope to read more of Robotham’s work in the future.

My review of previous – and to my mind excellent – book by this author is here.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review