‘All The Wicked Girls’ is the 2nd novel by Chris Whitaker and is as good as his first ‘Tall Oaks’. The story is set in the small town of Grace in Alabama and the small Southern town feel comes through in the story.
Summer and Raine are 15 year old twin girls. Summer is the good studious one who everyone loves while Raine is the rebellious one, flaunting her sexuality and breaking all the rules. Then Summer goes missing. There have been several other missing girls in surrounding towns, so Raine doesn’t feel that the local policeman Black is doing enough and starts her own search. Raine is aided by two local boys, Noah and Purv who are not part of the cool set, but who certainly steal the show.
The girls’ father Joe, together with his brother Tommy and their redneck makes also mount their own search. Pretty soon they find a target that they are sure is responsible.
Meanwhile Black, struggling with his own demons, tries to keep everyone under control.
As the story progresses, we find that there was much more to Summer than the angelic, studious church girl that everyone thought they knew.
This was an atmospheric and heartbreaking story. There were a multitude of characters, including a fire and brimstone paster, a persecuted albino man, a violent wife beating bully and many more.
The story was excellent and I was able to totally immerse myself in it. I grew to love several of the characters, particularly Noah and Purv, but also Raine and Black.
Unlike ‘Tall Oaks’, this novel didn’t contain a lot of humour.
Chris Whitaker has now produced two excellent novels and I’m looking forward to reading more.