“Phoebe. Tiffany. Melissa. They all made one little mistake…
When twenty-five-year-old Phoebe Stiles opens the door to her perfect apartment she doesn’t realise it’s the mistake that will kill her…
The body of the beautiful English girl is discovered months later – dumped behind the back of a department store. But who was the stranger she let into the safety of her home?
As Detective Rachel Prince pieces together the mystery surrounding Phoebe’s death, another young, blonde girl is found brutally murdered and abandoned in the grounds of an old theatre.
In the most dangerous case of her career, Rachel must track down the faceless individual to stop the body count rising. But to uncover the shocking truth, Rachel has to put herself at risk… can she catch the twisted killer, before they catch her?”
Delighted to be on the blog tour today for Perfect Girls by Alison James. My thanks to Noelle Holton at Bookouture for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
This is the first book I have read by Alison James, so I am coming to the series cold without any preconceptions as to her writing or the characters, although I believe this is the third book featuring Detective Rachel Prince. Having read this book, I will definitely go back and read the first two, as I really enjoyed both the style of writing and the characters in this book, although it was not entirely without fault.
The action in the book starts very quickly as we are drawn in to an ambitious case, where Rachel Prince is charged with representing British interests in a case of a murdered English reality star in Los Angeles. The plot is one it is easy to become embroiled in as we feel Rachel’s frustration and her impotence as a token guest on a case in a foreign country that she does not believe is being handled correctly. The plot moved along smartly and I was very engrossed in the puzzle of the crime and whether it was linked to other similar murders or not.
Rachel Prince is an easy protagonist to relate to. She is the kind of woman a lot of us would aspire to be, intelligent, successful, talented, independent, strong – or that is certainly how she comes across in this book, although it would seem she has a complicated romantic past that is referred back to here. That just serves to make her more human and approachable. I found the romantic tension between her and Rob a compelling and very realistic thread in the book too.
For the first two thirds, the book is an intellectual puzzle as the detective investigates in the usual way, following leads and piecing together clues to try and identify the murderer. She does half of this off the books, having been taken off the case when the British girl’s murder is deemed solved but Rachel disagrees. At this point, I began to query how realistic her behaviour, and the behaviour of other professionals in the book was, as they were doing a lot of things unofficially that made me skeptical. It was still entertaining but your enjoyment from this point forward will depend on how far you are prepared to suspend your disbelief and accept that this is fiction so realism is a flexible thing.
When it came to the denouement, real physical action kicks in which is a welcome change of pace and tone. However, something happens which I really struggled to buy into, given the character and behaviour of DI Prince throughout the rest of the book. I can’t say too much without giving away the plot but I just didn’t believe it, it jarred for me with what had been set out in the first 80% of the story. It was a shame, as I had really enjoyed the rest of it and was very invested in the story and the characters and had been racing through to find out what happened.
This is a great story, fast-paced and intriguing with well-drawn, relatable characters and a fascinating spin in the shape of the foreign setting. I really like the writer’s voice and enjoyed the majority of the book, with just a disappointing mis-step at the end. This will not stop me looking out for more from this author. People less pedantic than me may not have the same issues.
Perfect Girls is out now and you can buy a copy here.
To follow the other blogs on the tour, check out the tour poster below:
About the Author
Born in the Cotswolds, Alison spent most of her formative years abroad. She studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist and author, returning to university after her two children to take a law degree. After a three-year stint as a criminal paralegal, Alison worked as a commercial copywriter and then a TV storyliner, before coming full circle to write fiction again.
Connect with Alison:
Facebook: Alison James
Goodreads: Alison James