Book Review: Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd.

Summary:   'NEW N A M E .
S H I N Y.
ME . '

Annie's mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother's daughter...

I was expecting a shocker of a thriller here given the summary & blurbs about its grittiness but after reading it... not so much. Both the summary & hype prompted me to buy this in hardcopy as it's not yet out in my country (a thing I will routinely do when I don't want to wait!)! Either I'm jaded or the usual reader's standard for shocking and cutting edge are at a much lower bar than mine. Or, in addition to having read too many mystery/psychological thrillers, I've seen so many Law & Order: SVU, DCI Banks & Luther episodes that I'm inured to what I was offered here.

I thought the veiled reveal of the horrors Annie/Milly's mother meted out on her victims was very well done. It was never gratuitous and always left me wondering. This may be the best aspect to the story. It was effective as these things are related to the reader through Annie/Milly.

Milly was the only well drawn character, unfortunately. She was the only one who was fully realized and with such care and attention that I have to wonder if the writer just didn't have any more left for everyone else. Mike, the psychologist treating Milly & also foster-father was flat. His best moment is when it's revealed he's been secretly writing a book on Milly & her mother's case. Saskia, the bored, drug-addled, cheating, long mentally absent wife & foster-mother was a ghostly copy of every other type you've read of this. I hoped we'd go deeper but that's not what she was here for. Phoebe, the beautiful, Queen B, bully daughter whose entire purpose on the planet seemed to be hissing, spitting & coming up with uninspired names to call people. Morgan, the girl who befriends Milly was a touch better drawn but even she misses the feels real mark.

I predicted the two big reveals and have to admit that I was disappointed. It felt like it couldn't have gone any other way even though I'd been hoping it would. It made for a terribly anticlimactic end. I'm glad I read Milly's story but if I could do it all again, I wouldn't rush to it.

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