The Next Girl
By Carla Kovach
Deborah Jenkins pulls her coat around her as she sets out on her short walk home in the pouring rain. But she never makes it home that night. And she is never seen again …
Four years later, an abandoned baby girl is found wrapped in dirty rags on a doorstep. An anonymous phone call urges the police to run a DNA test on the baby. But nobody is prepared for the results. The newborn belongs to Deborah. She’s still alive.
“If you only read one book this year, make it The Next Girl” was one of many positive reviews I read that persuaded me to buy this book. However like most crime thrillers I have read, I was really disappointed.
The novel is set out so each chapter is a different character, as a reader you gain the point of view of Detective Gina Harte and her task force, the ‘bereaved’ husband Luke and also Debbie the woman who has been kidnapped. As a reader I felt that the “thrill” had automatically gone from the thriller aspect of the novel as I knew exactly where Debbie was, what had happened to her and knew she was in a bad way but she was alive. Obviously Luke her husband and the detectives don’t know this so when they are blithering on that she is dead or she has been taken by this man or this man in my head I was just like eurgh IDIOTS! I think having Debbie as a main character throughout the book made the novel loose the tension.
The chapters which revolved around Gina Harte and her colleagues annoyed me, they dragged on and I felt the author couldn’t think of anything interesting to beef out the story with so gave Harte a cold which she then passed onto her work friend, I felt like 10% of the novel was reading about throat lozenges or snot! This illness added literally nothing to the storyline so I didn’t quite understand why I had to read about them coughing and spluttering all day… “Jacob grabbed another tissue out of his pocket and proceeded to hack up phlem. He pulled out a lozenge from his pocket and popped it into his mouth” I mean really? and if they were not moaning on about having man flu they were moaning that they needed coffee, wanted coffee, had a coffee, spilt a coffee, gave someone a coffee…
The only character which I felt had some depth was Detective Gina Harte. Harte is leading the investigation on finding Debbie, whilst having a horrific cold, relationship issues with her daughter, awful flashbacks of her dead husband beating her to a pulp and continuing a ridiculous unprofessional relationship with her boss! She had a lot going on, but she was a lead female role which I liked, she was determined and driven and passionate about her job. Apparently this book is going to be the beginning of series staring Gina Harte as the main character, personally I wouldn’t read anymore of the series and would rather go back to reading some Nancy Drew novels, which is what I liked when I was a lot younger. I recently read The Dry (click here for the review) and I LOVED it, another crime thriller, murder investigation book but The Dry was everything The Next Girl was not, Kovach’s writing style seemed extremely mediocre compared to Jane Harper’s. I highly recommend The Dry if you enjoy these kinds of books.
I think I wanted a lot more from this book, maybe if the novel went more in depth about Debbie’s years being held kidnapped, she was there for 4 years and you barley know anything about her time there, her psychological downfall or her physical state other than she was malnourished. How did she spend most of her time there? I guess a better book to read for this kind of view would be The Room by Emma Donoghue and I guess this novel focusses more on the police work and the effect it had on her husband rather than the victim. I feel like I am the only person who wasn’t amazed by this novel, a quick glance on Good Reads and all I can see are five* reviews and positive comments. For me a good crime thriller really has to blow me away, be unique and the writing has to be excellent, in my opinion this book failed on all three of these things.
The Next Girl felt like a very average novel and I won’t be reading the rest of the series.
Have you read The Next Girl? What was your opinion about this novel? I would love to know, get in touch. Katie x