(Image from Barnes & Noble)
At 14 years old, Zoe Guerin lost her life. Not literally, but the devastated piano prodigy went to jail for causing a car accident that killed three teenagers. With a genius IQ and a promising musical career in front of her, Zoe threw everything away. Three years later, her life has—improbably—gotten back on track. Now 17, Zoe is living in a different city using a different last name. She even has a new family: her stepfather, Chris Kennedy; his teen son, Lucas; and her infant half-sister, Grace. Zoe's mother has put the past firmly behind them, not telling Chris or Lucas about Zoe's history. Impossibly, Zoe's even performing again, this time with her stepbrother, who's also a talented pianist. Although she'll be forever scarred by the accident, Zoe is trying to be hopeful about her future.
When the grieving father of one of the accident victims disrupts Zoe's concert, her secret comes quickly to light. In the chaotic aftermath, her mother is found dead in the family's shed. She's been murdered. Why would someone kill Maria Kennedy? As the police investigate the crime, scrutinizing everyone in the family, they discover that each member has been hiding incriminating secrets. Did one of these secrets lead to Maria's death? Or did a grief-stricken father finally get his revenge on the family who stole his child? What really happened the night Zoe's mother died?
The Perfect Girl, the newest mystery/thriller by English author Gilly Macmillan, is an engrossing page turner with a tense, tightly-plotted storyline. The characters are complex, sympathetic, and intriguing. Twists and turns keep the tale suspenseful until the very end. Even though I saw the murderer coming, the novel's finale still surprised me. There's nothing really cheery or uplifting about this book (in fact, it's pretty depressing), but it is a riveting read sure to satisfy fans of British psychological thrillers (which I am and which it did).
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives) and violence
To the FTC, with love: Another library