Author: Jane Holland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 3 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
As a young child, Eleanor Blackwood witnessed her mother’s murder in woods near their farm. The killer was never found.
Now an adult, Eleanor discovers a woman’s body in the same spot in the Cornish woods where her mother was strangled eighteen years before. But when the police get there, the body has disappeared.
Is Eleanor’s disturbed mind playing tricks on her again, or has her mother’s killer resurfaced? And what does the number on the dead woman’s forehead signify?
Girl Number One started off strong, but unfortunately, halfway through the book began tumbling from one cliché into the other, the killer’s identity was obvious almost from the start, and the characters turned from mildly interested into bland and boring.
Despite that, the book did start off strong. Eleanor finds a dead woman in the woods during her morning run, at the exact same spot her mother was killed years ago. By the time she makes it home and can call the police, the body is gone. Eleanor worries she might be losing it. When her mother was murdered, she saw the whole event, but could never recall the killer’s identity, and it has haunted her ever since.
So far, so good. But then it all falls kind of flat. You would expect, considering all she’s been through, that Eleanor would be a pretty interesting character. She wasn’t. She was boring, detached – and I could understand detached considering what happened to her, but there’s no excuse for boring. Her emotions are always sort of bland, and I’m not sure if it’s because she barely experiences any emotions, being numbed by the trauma that occured to her, or because the author just doesn’t succeed in getting her emotions to come across to the reader. Either way, it didn’t work for me.
Also, Ellie makes some pretty stupid choices. If you suspect someone is a murderer, then you don’t sleep with them. That’s just about the stupidest thing you could ever do. And Ellie isn’t even a foolish teenage girl, she’s a grown woman, for God’s sake.
The plot started out strong with the body ending up missing, and for a while I wasn’t sure if Ellie was losing it, she was doing it herself, or a killer was out there for real – that was the strongest part of the book, and the most supsenseful part, right at the very beginning. Then it quickly went downhill, and a few chapters in, I already figured out who the killer was, leaving nearly no excitement for when “the big reveal” came at the end.
The book was not bad, but some parts of it were slightly dissapointing, and it’s definitely not one of my favorite books, but it’s not a horrible book by any means. It’s just kind of bland, like its protagonist, too predictable, and it doesn’t really stand out despite the good premise.