I love a good thriller. If there’s a premise of secrecy, lies and drama then I want to read it. So when I came across Girl Unknown by Karen Perry, I was drawn to it.
‘I think you might be my father…’
That’s the line that’s meant to grip you. First year student Zoë Barry tells professor David Connolly that she’s the daughter he didn’t know he had, from a past relationship with Linda, a woman he’s never quite got over.
When Zoë shows up, the relationship with David and Caroline is tested. Zoë soon becomes part of their lives, moving in with the family and taking centre stage, much to the annoyance of their daughter Holly. Yet Robbie, their son, takes to Zoë well.
Set in Scotland, the family adjust to living with the new girl. But Zoë’s kindness in front of David is just a front, and when he’s not there she becomes cruel, manipulative and arrogant.
The story goes from the view points of Caroline and David. We learn that Caroline doesn’t trust Zoë, and wants her gone, but David is glad she’s there. With a daughter from a past relationship back in his life, David begins to reflect on Linda once more.
Unfortunately, the style of writing kept knocking me off balance. There was too much telling, and no showing. Backgrounds were explained, which is fine, but it seemed as though everything was told to us, instead of us learning it along the way.
The writing itself, though, was good, and I liked how Perry used so many descriptive words and synonyms that impressed me. I particularly liked the part where Caroline’s anger was described as leaking alkaline.
The characters were a little one dimensional, and the plot twist near the end was very predictable, and I had guessed it half way through.
The novel itself isn’t really much of a thriller. It’s slow Burning and takes its time to come to a climax, but it works.