An intense emotional drama with psychological thriller elements, this book was quite a page-turner for me and I finished it in 2 days. Nothing about the book is as ‘wild’ as it promises but it’s a read that gets under your skin.
The ‘girls’ of the title are a group of 4 friends who have not seen each other for a long time, since something happened ‘that night’ that split them up. 3 of them, who are living in London, are surprised to receive invitations to celebrate the other’s birthday in a luxury lodge in Botswana, of all places. They are going to learn the real reason for getting together again and it might be more than a party…
I liked how the female characters were all differentiated, each with their own set of problems and the complexities of how they relate to each other. Unfortunately this is yet another thriller in which every male character is an abuser or cheater.
The idea of a mystery set in Botswana was very enticing. However, it seemed like merely a backdrop and I learnt nothing about the country at all, not even the capital city (which I’m assuming is where the airport was, where the girls landed). The promise – or threat – of wildlife fell completely flat. There was a frog mentioned, beetles and some butterflies. Plus some photos of safari animals and a zebra skin rug. What a missed opportunity!
The plot was predictable. It starts with murder victims, not identified for us. We then have the girls’ narratives, of which 2 are in the 3rd person and the others are in the 1st person. Guess who’s going to be murdered?! There was a good twist towards the end, though. There are many implausible details, which will bother you if credibility is important to you in thrillers set in the real world.
I don’t often have trigger warnings in my reviews but I will note here that there is rape trauma, attempted rape, child abuse, domestic abuse and miscarriage in this book. A lot of serious issues packed into the story. I felt it was too much for the kind of book it is.
I did enjoy parts of this book, particularly the first half, but I found it very flawed and not as good as The Girl Next Door.
Published in 2021.