Every once in a while a book comes along that is just so well-suited to my true crime loving heart, that I just consume it as fast as I possibly can. Then I’m sad, of course, that I didn’t make it last long enough. There have actually been a couple of those this year. Girl A was amazing, and of course one that was actually true crime, The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer. When I reviewed that second one, I think I gave it a lower rating than I would now. It has totally been one that I’ve thought about long after I read the last page.
Girl 11 is definitely one of those books that also keeps you thinking. Another reason to get excited about this one? It’s a debut! If this book is even half as good as her next one, Amy Suiter Clark is going to be a big name in thrillers. And I can’t wait to add another favorite author to my stable. As I was looking around the internet, I also found a free book club guide. You can add it to your clubs list and check out the guide here.
And without further ado…
From the Publisher:
Elle Castillo once trained as a social worker, supporting young victims of violent crime. Now she hosts a popular true crime podcast that focuses on cold cases of missing and abducted children.
After four seasons of successfully solving these cases in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Elle decides to tackle her white whale: The Countdown Killer. Twenty years ago, TCK was terrorizing the community, kidnapping and ritualistically murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. Then, after he took his eleven-year-old victim, the pattern—and the murders—abruptly stopped. No one has ever known why.
When Elle follows up on a listener tip only to discover the man’s dead body, she feels at fault. Then, within days, a child is abducted—a young girl who seems to fit suspiciously into the TCK sequence halted decades before. While media and law enforcement long ago concluded that TCK had suicided, Elle has never believed TCK was dead. She had hoped her investigation would lay that suspicion to rest, but her podcast seems instead to be inciting new victims.
Elle and her husband live a quiet existence. He’s a coroner, she’s a true crime podcaster and they don’t have any children of their own. They do have neighbors that are the kind of friends that are more chosen family than anything and help the single mom out with her daughter quite often. It takes a village, right?
It seems like every true crime podcaster (and probably obsessed fan as well) has that one murder case that first sparked their interest. For Elle, it’s The Countdown Killer. She was a child when he was active, it was never solved, and she’s never stopped wondering about who the killer was. She’s a little obsessed. And honestly, I think that’s pretty believable for how involved a lot of these podcasters really do get to truly pay respect to the victims and tell their story.
And then of course, similar murders start happening again, 20 years later. Is it Elle’s fault for talking about the murders on her podcast? Has she poked the beast or even just sparked a copycat?
Girl 11 is everything that a fictional thriller can aspire to be. It’s got a healthy dose of real life, a pinch of obsession and a whole lot of suspense. It’s chicken soup for the true crime lover’s soul and you must check it out. Special thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out April 20. Get your copy.