The Wicked Girls by Alex MarwoodRead about another entry on the list.
I’m a sucker for anything carnival-themed, but there are no evil clowns or funhouses of death here. Instead, The Wicked Girls follows two middle-aged women—Amber, a carnival cleaner, and Kirsty, a journalist—as they attempt to keep their separate, unremarkable lives under control. Until a chance encounter sets things spiraling toward disaster.
The book weaves back and forth in time, from the present to a childhood where Amber and Kirsty knew each other by different names. The two women are bound together by a horrible event: the long ago murder of a four-year-old, for which they were jointly convicted and served time in a juvenile prison before being released with new identities and a legal mandate never to contact each other again. Props to Marwood for her ability to make her leads by turns sympathetic and repellant, while casually offering mob mentality as an alternative villain in this story. What’s scarier—two allegedly murderous eleven-year-olds, or a gang of self-righteous townspeople hell-bent on vigilante justice? At times, it’s a toss up.