Friday 21 December 2018

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts @aclarkplatts @BloomsburyRaven @Ros_Ellis @BloomsburyBooks #TheFlowerGirls

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.
One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.
Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.
And the Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again...

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts is published by Bloomsbury Raven in hardback and ebook on 24 January 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

There is absolutely no doubt that The Flower Girls is a dark and often uncomfortable read. However, it is also utterly compelling and this author has created a story that will shock the reader whilst taking them on a twisty journey through the minds of those who have committed a terrible act.

Chapter One delivers with a bang. It's 1997 and ten-year-old Laurel and her six-year-old sister Primrose (known as Rosie) are playing in the local park. It's the things that are left unsaid that are the darkest, as the sisters lead toddler Kirstie away down the canal path. The reader knows that something terrible will happen.

Fast forward nineteen years later and Rosie is now known as Hazel. She, her boyfriend and his teenage daughter are staying in a hotel in Devon when Georgie, the five-year-old daughter of fellow guests disappears.  It's a dark and stormy night and putting together a search party is difficult. Meanwhile all of the hotel guests must stay and be interviewed by the investigating police officers.

Hazel has created a new life and new identity for herself. At age six, we couldn't be held accountable for baby Kirstie's murder, but ten-year-old Laurel has spent the last nineteen years in jail, abandonded by her family and constantly applying for parole.

The disappearance of Georgie thrusts the story of the Flower Girls right back into public awareness as Hazel's identity is uncovered and Laurel embarks on yet another application for release.

What follows is a tense and quite chilling look at past crimes, current beliefs and a determination to uncover the truth. Alice Clark-Platts excels in creating strong and believable female characters. Both Laurel and Hazel are chillingly realistic and the supporting cast are excellently portrayed; especially Hillier, the policewoman and Joanna; Kirstie's aunt who has dedicated her life to unravelling miscarriages of justice. Whilst there are male characters within the story, these were not as strong as the women.

I have no doubt that some readers will struggle with the subject matter of  The Flower Girls; child murder and child murderers are such a taboo and shocking subject but this author has dealt with this darkest and troublesome of plot lines with an expert ease. The tension mounts as each chapter unfold and the reader will constantly question the characters, and indeed themselves.

The Flower Girls is a deeply disturbing thriller that is many layered; dealing with the most brutal of crimes in a smart and sophisticated way. It's an intelligent thriller and I was genuinely gripped.

Alice Clark-Platts is a former human rights lawyer who worked at the UN International Criminal Tribunal in connection with the Rwandan genocide and on cases involving Winnie Mandela and Snoop Dogg.
She is the author of the police procedurals Bitter Fruits and The Taken, the latter of which was shortlisted for the Best Police Procedural in the Dead Good Reader Awards 2017.
Her work was included in Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women,  selected by Sophie Hannah

Find out more at
Follow her on Twitter @aclarkplatts
Find her Author page on Facebook

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