Back of the book :
AN INNOCENT GAME. A SHOCKING CRIME. A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS.
Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home.
The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared.
No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars.
The village could sleep safe once again.
Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past.
30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party.
Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he star.
What I think :
Thirty years ago in the summer of 1989 a young girl goes out to play and never comes home again.
Her name was Jonie Hayes and she was ten years old. Her body was never found.
The local ‘weirdo’ Billy Crawley was charged with her kidnap and murder and was sentenced to thirty years in prison.
Billy has now done his time and has been released from prison. He has always protested his innocence.
Anna, also ten at the time was Jonie’s friend and was out playing ‘knock, knock Ginger (a cherry knocking game) with Jonie when she was abducted all those years ago. When the case went to court it was Anna’s testimony that almost certainly sent Billy to prison.
Anna left the small town of Mapleton as soon as she could and made a life for herself hundreds of miles away, she has never been back. But now she needs to return to the town she hates so much. Her mother Muriel is quite nervous about the fact that Billy has been released, she thinks that Billy wants revenge for what happened all those years ago and is out to get them back for it. Odd things have started to happen and Anna’s mum needs her to be there with her.
Then there is Lizzie, she is a freelance reporter. She is also worried about Billy’s release. She once lived in Mapleton when she was a small child. Why did she leave and why has she rushed back to the place that she left all those years ago ?
Does she just want the story or does she know more than she’s letting on ?
Did Billy really do that awful thing thirty years ago .. ?
If Billy didn’t, who did and where is poor little Jonie now ?
Someone is lying, but who … ?
*POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT *
I really enjoyed this book.
There is plenty of twists and turns right from the start. Very easy to get into and work out what was happening.
I knew right from the start that everything wasn’t as it seemed and that maybe Billy hadn’t done what he was supposed to have done and that it was ‘small-village’ mentality that had really convicted him. I felt quite sorry for him in some ways as he’d lost his wife and was trying to cope with that and look after a child as well.
I had absolutely no clue to who had done it, it was a complete surprise when all was revealed as to who the real murderer/abductor. It was quite a surprise if I’m honest !!
As with most thrillers these days, it has been written over two time lines and its also told from multiple characters points of view with small punchy chapters to keep you interested.
A really enjoyable read. I was also really glad to find out why I was sent a dolls head with the review copy of the book as it really intrigued me when I received it.
I give this really brilliant thriller 9/10. (5 stars)
Published by Avon Books 12/12/19.
A huge Thank you as always to the lovely Sabah Khan from Avon books for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.