My next two reviews will be for thrilling mysteries with exotic locales. Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride!
The Wild Girls
April 26, 2022
William Morrow Paperbacks
Blurb: FOUR FRIENDS. A LUXURY RETREAT. IT’S GOING TO BE MURDER.
It’s been years since Grace, Felicity, Alice, and Hannah were together. The “Wild Girls,” as they were once called, are no longer so wild. Alice is a teacher. Hannah has a new baby. Grace is a homebody. Only Felicity seems to have retained her former spark.
Then Felicity invites them all on the weekend of a lifetime—a birthday bash in Botswana. It will be a chance to have fun and rekindle their once bomb-proof friendship… and finally put that one horrible night, all those years ago, behind them for good.
But soon after arriving at the luxury safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They are on their own… and things start to go very, very wrong.
A fresh approach to the classic locked-room mystery, The Wild Girls is sure to appeal to fans of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley.
The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan opens with the police swarming a resort in Botswana where two bodies have been found. So, in the following chapters as invitations for a thirtieth birthday party begin to arrive, the reader already knows that that birthday party isn’t going to be like any other.
Grace, Felicity, Alice, and Hannah have been friends for many years, except an event two years ago put their friendship on hold, although the women had considered the relationship terminated until Felicity sends out invitations for her Botswana birthday party, all expenses paid.
Initially, Hannah has no intention of going. She has a new baby she adores, but her husband never seems to help; he’s always working; and finally, she decides she needs a break. Alice and her boyfriend have had their ups and downs, mostly downs, because he’s controlling and abusive. The invitation arrives at the right time for Alice to go to Botswana and rethink her life. Grace is at a crossroads. Her friends have all achieved success but she just seems to be stuck in place. The arrival of the invitation seems to her to be an opportunity to move on, rethink her life, make a new beginning.
The Wild Girls (a title that seems to have been put in place because all books need a title and not actually because this book is about wild girls) is told through alternating POVs of all four women. Two of the POVs are in first person, which, unfortunately should be a dead (heh) giveaway.
The only character I felt any attachment to was Grace, despite the fact that she oftentimes seems to have the backbone of a dishcloth, but as the novel unfolds and the reader learns of her family background that begins to make sense. She also comes across as the most self-aware and observant. Hannah, despite the other characters saying nice things about her and making her out to be a caring mother hen, never seems to me to be that nice. She and Alice are the best friends in the group and seem to be the groups mean girls.
While the locale of Botswana should have been exciting, it seems more an afterthought since the resort is the focus and the resort, frankly, could be anywhere.
Despite the fact that I was certain I knew who the murderer was, Morgan did a good job of creating tension and even tossed out a wrench near the end, which was delightfully surprising. For stories like these, they really do thrive on the amount of tension the author can instill, mainly because the reader probably has already predicted who the killer is, and I think this one was very good at creating enough suspense that the reader happily turns pages.
A very satisfying read!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.