The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts is a dark, twisted mystery novel which will shock and mesmerise you. The characters are so deeply interconnected and I felt that their treatment was accurate, even though it will make some readers uncomfortable. The plot is one which takes you on a stop-start journey, building the tension slowly in some places then making you race through the next 50 pages all at once. A 4.75* read, The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts will be published by Bloomsbury Raven on 24th January, 2019 (my birthday)!
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Child abduction, references to child abuse, torture and real-life child murder cases
The Flower Girls follows two interconnected plot lines. The first is the childhoods of Laurel and Rosie, the young girls arrested for the murder of a toddler. Laurel was charged and sent to prison, while Rosie was too young to stand trial or be convicted. 18 years later, Rosie, now Hazel, is staying at a hotel on New Year’s Eve with her partner, Jonny and his daughter, Evie when a little girl goes missing. Hazel is scared that people will find out who she really is, so plans to leave the hotel. When people do find out, it is only a matter of time before her life becomes a nightmare of press hounds and publicity. Will the Greenstreet family ever discover what happened to their daughter?
Why this is a great mystery
The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts is a great novel because it is well-plotted, well paced and has some compelling characters. Clark-Platts knows exactly how to make a reader feel uncomfortable, and this will hit home for anybody who follows real-life murder cases, or has been around long enough to remember cases such as Jon Venables being on the news. I did have to sit down and grind through the first few chapters, as it starts off like any normal detective story. Once the book picks up, however, it is very fast-paced and unputdownable.
Now, I will say that one reveal was a little predictable, but also makes for a more satisfying read of the character the earlier you figure it out. The second reveal, however was more shocking to me and felt it was a good add-on. Lots of people are commenting that it wasn’t explained, but I thought that the explanation of just being evil was good enough, and rather realistic for many child murderers. I really enjoyed Hillier’s ending, as I felt that it was akin to how many police feel when a case is ‘closed’ but something is just not quite right. Will she ever know the truth?
Clark-Platts has obviously researched this book extensively, and I always greatly respect that in any author. I adored all of the real-life case and name drops as it added to the validity of the story and made it feel at times that you were reading a true account in fiction-form.
Overall, The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts is a clever, dark and hypnotising mystery. I felt that the way she started it versus the way she ended this book is pretty genius, and you have to stick with it to understand the whole picture. I would recommend this book to lovers of unique crime fiction, standalone crime novels, true crime, mystery, thriller and serial killer thriller fiction. Thank you Bloomsbury Raven and NetGalley for my e-arc in exchange for an honest review.