The second in the series about Stella Darnell, daughter of the late retired detective chief superintendent Terry Darnell. After solving the Rokesmith murder in the previous book, Stella is struggling a year later with her father’s death. Stella has yet to clear/sell Terry’s house and has been cleaning as much as she can for Clean Slate, her business and maintaining the status quo at Terry’s house. During this routine she discovers a folder of photos which lead her onto a case to be solved. Why did Terry take photos of these streets in West London? With her oddball employee, Jack she embarks on a mission to solve what Terry has started.
This serious, dark and sinister thriller is far from an easy read. The opening chapters give you a number of unrelated tableaux: a girl and her brother in 1966, Stella and her issues with her business and her mother, Jack shadowing a “Host” whom he suspects will kill. Thomson gives you multi-dimensional puzzle pieces, which you eventually are led to fit together about two-thirds of the way through. You suspect everyone in this story.
The cohesive elements of the story are Stella Darnell and Jack Harman, two misfits who seem to fit together. I became very attached to both of these characters even though Jack blurs the lines of logic in this thriller and Stella seems to provide the stability in this investigative duo. There’s a degree of surrealism as you read about the characters and the story. The last twenty percent of this book is where all the action is, when all the pieces start to line up and fit together.
This is a dense, dark and serious read looking for committed readers who are willing to be patient and take their time to get to the pinnacle of the story. In my opinion Ghost Girl is well-crafted and a haunting thriller that will preoccupy your mind until to reach its dramatic conclusion.
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