Today, it is my absolute pleasure to be the first stop on the blog tour for Ann Girdharry’s new novel, ‘Good Girl, Bad Girl’.
Kal Medi is a freelance photojournalist, used to placing herself in the most dangerous of situations to get that all important shot. When her mother, Alesha, an investigative journalist, calls her from London, asking Kal to return home to help her on an investigation, she thinks nothing of it, promising to return home soon. It is only when Kal receives a call from her mother’s best friend, telling her that Alesha has gone missing that Kal begins to understand that this investigation was not run of the mill, and a threatening note left in plain sight alerts Kal to the fact that her mother may be in serious danger. Because Kal has seen these notes before. Her mother, and her grandmother before her, had been receiving the notes for years, each time destroying the evidence and hiding the truth behind their existence, even from Kal.
Having been raised by a very unconventional father, a man who insisted that Kal learnt how to read others, how to hide her emotions and manipulate how others perceive her. Kal knows never to trust first impressions and is untrusting of nearly everyone, even Detective Inspector Spinks, who is sent to investigate her mother’s disappearance. Deciding she is better placed to investigate on her own, Kal turns to her best friend Marty for help before starting out on a journey of investigation which could put not only her life, but that of her family and friends in serious danger. Because the story her mother was working on involves some very high profile people from around the globe.
Finding the truth will take Kal from London to Kolkata, where she sees the testing facility for ground breaking and yet controversial medical technology, and cover for a world of depravity unlike anything she has seen before. Family secrets will be exposed, old wounds opened and Kal will finally discover the truth about her father’s reasons for schooling her in psychology when she was a child. Her nemesis tries everything to encourage her to stop her investigations, but Kal is determined. As she closes in on the truth, someone close to Kal may pay the very highest price for her refusing to let sleeping dogs lie.
‘Good Girl, Bad Girl’, is a very well crafted thriller. The opening seems almost pedestrian compared to the action that is to come, the first few chapters setting the scene of Alesha’s disappearance, and making it clear to the reader that Kal is something more than your average photographer, that she has highly tuned senses, a keen eye for detail, and certain amount of training in how to investigate a crime scene. This almost gives the reader a false impression of what it to come, that the scene, and the story, are both calm. And they are, but it is definitely the ‘calm before the storm.’
As Kal heads into her investigation, the pace, and the story, step up a gear. It is quickly evident that there a number of high profile people involved in the story, including her mother’s boss, and it is hard to know just who to trust as Kal meets all of the different players in this very twisted game. And twisted it is. The underlying story, the reason for her mother’s disappearance, is disturbing indeed. The novel touches on the periphery of a theme of sexual abuse, and while never specific in detail, it is most certainly implied, with a clear picture painted for the reader. I don’t think it is enough to act as a trigger for sensitive readers, but as your mind catches up with the level of depravity involved, it is certainly a very hard subject to think about.
Kal Medi is a very intriguing character. Skilled in Kung Fu from an early age, that, combined with her father’s schooling, make her a fiercely independent person. She does not know how to trust others, or to ask for help, even from her friends. She hates feeling out of control and hates when emotions get the better of her. She is strong, intuitive, and, while not easy to like as her lack of trust spills onto the page, you do warm to her, her fierce defence of family and friends, and her sense of justice, all very endearing qualities. You want her to succeed, want her to find her mother and want her to defeat the bad guys. You’ll have to read for yourself to see if she does.
The supporting characters, best friend Marty, Kal’s spirited, yet sadly dementia afflicted, grandmother, Nannie, new friend LeeMing and even Detective Inspector Spinks, are all interesting characters in their own right. I loved Marty’s fire, complimentary to Kal’s fighting spirit and yet the ying to LeeMing’s cautionary yang. Nannie is also a great character, full of pep on her lucid days and yet haunted by the truth of the family’s past. With the charmingly sinister adversary to boot, Ann Girdharry has created a very rounded list of protagonists and antagonists, creating a good balance of tension and pace in the novel. Setting is another strength, particularly as she takes the reader from the familiar sights and sounds of London and into the streets of Kolkata, giving a clear view of both the country and the plight of the street children. The neglected. The forgotten.
While by the end of the novel, the story in itself is resolved, it does leave a few threads hanging, allowing the reader to anticipate the next instalment. Kal Medi is a character with a lot of potential and a lot of fire. I am intrigued to see where Ann Girdharry takes her next.
A very promising, suspensfully dark 4 stars.
My thanks to Ann Girdharry for the copy of Good Girl, Bad Girl in exchange for this review, and for inviting me to join her on this blog tour.
‘Good Girl, Bad Girl’ is published on 23rd August, 2016 via Create Space and Kindle Direct Publishing and is available for order here:
About the Author
Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children. As well as her passion for writing, Ann enjoys gardening and is a member of her local roller blading club. Ann has previously published a series of short stories called Tales of the Unexpected (2015-2016).
Her debut novel, and the first in the Kal Medi series, Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry (published by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing 23rd August 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.
You can follow Ann on the following sites:
Social Media: @GirdharryAnn
Author Website: www.girdharry.com