Girl, 11 - Amy Suiter Clarke

Elle leaves her social worker position to work full-time on solving cold cases for her true crime podcast with a growing fan base. Elle knows which killer lives in her mind rent-free, and after two successful seasons of her podcast she takes the plunge and tries to catch: The Countdown Killer.


I received a gifted copy of Girl, 11 as part of my involvement with Pushkin Press' Women in Crime week where I championed Maxine Mei-Fung Chung's novel, The Eighth Girl (https://www.readtheweek.co.uk/post/spotlight-maxine-mei-fung-chung).


Girl, 11 immediately jumped out at me as my next read at the time because of my love of true crime podcasts. My Favourite Murder opened my eyes to the world of true crime and I even have a tattoo in their honour, did Girl, 11 take that idea and cash in on the current fascination? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Don't get me wrong, there were a few aspects that didn't feel original, TCK? Just reminded me of BTK. Long-series format? Serial. But, the novel progressed into a unique narrative that shows our main character really getting on the wrong side of being an armchair detective. I think the subtle nods to the true crime world were nice but the level of them could have been dialled back a little as it did feel piled on for that direct effect.


Elle herself was an interesting character. She did seem selfish in her actions and sometimes there was a sense of recklessness that played into the story, but the revelation surrounding her was well incorporated with the changing time periods, and felt like a natural progression for Suiter Clarke to take. I cannot say I was surprised by the direction the story took but that didn't take away from the experience as a whole because of way it was written into the plot. I enjoyed my time building up to the revelation and whilst I expected it, it didn't read as predictable or bland, it was exciting and engaging to read. However, I came to the same conclusion a few other reviewers did that although the narrative played out well up to the last quarter, it fell apart into unbelievable decisions made by characters and plot holes filled without the right fitting piece.


Generally I enjoyed myself with this novel, it had a spark of excitement and played on my love of true crime podcasts but it's ending let it down, I'd have loved to have seen the novel lengthened slightly to spread out those last few scenes to give it more plausibility.


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