Twelve-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.
When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murder, questions remain as to his guilt — questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her Matty is dying and wants to meet. It looks like Sophie might finally get the answers she craves. But will the truth set her free — or bury her deeper?
I have absolutely loved Victoria Selman’s previous books so was excited to see she had this new book out. After all who doesn’t enjoy a good serial killer read? This one certainly didn’t disappoint. Sophie Brennan and her mum Amelia-Rose had moved from America to the UK when Sophie was a young girl. It’s in London where her mum met and fell for Matthew (Matty) Melgrem. He is the closest thing Sophie has to a father. When Matty is arrested, charged and found guilty of multiple murders of women who look like Amelia-Rose. Sophie is devastated, they had been following the killings in the news, but not for one minute did they think it was Matty, he was handsome, well groomed, always charming, well educated, nothing like the descriptions given of what type of person was committing these crimes. Matty has always claimed he is innocent. 20 years later a letter falls on Sophie’s doormat from Battlemouth Prison, Matty wants to see Sophie, he is dying and doesn’t have long to live. Can she drum up enough courage to go visit him.
I loved the way this story is told, as we go back and forth in time to the relationship between Matty, Amelia and Sophie. Is Matty innocent? The story weighs up the possibilities of guilt and innocence in different ways. Through blog posts, crime forums, the fascination people have as to whether someone is guilty or not. Because Matty is good looking how could he possibly be a serial killer. Think of Ted Bundy and the women who didn’t believe he could be guilty. As if looks mean you can’t possibly be a killer. But then what does a killer look like?
The relationship between Amelia and Matty grips you, she is a Christian woman who doesn’t like the lords name taken in vain, or swearing. Sophie listens in to lots of their conversations or arguments, she is always on Marty’s side feeling her mum is pushing him away. When Matty is arrested bot Amelia and Sophie struggle, Amelia stands by her man. I felt so for Sophie, she initially believed Matty to be innocent, but then some doubts set in, but even over the years he is in prison the whole thing just controls her life, she never finished school despite being an intelligent young woman. But she feels such guilt that she carries around with her like the weight of the world on her shoulders, but she really has nothing to feel guilty for. The characters are so well created, all believable. Will Sophie visit Matty in prison? If she does will it give her some sort of closure that she clearly needs? Or will it dredge up even more memories?
The story is told through the eyes of Sophie, interspersed with blog posts, forum posts about Matty and his innocence or guilt. If you have binge watched any of the true crime documentaries on Netflix or Amazon, you will understand how people react we have this insatiable need to watch and decide if we believe someone is guilty or innocent from what we are shown. In some ways this book gives that similar impression. I did wonder about one aspect as the story started to draw to a close with the surprise ending which for once I was actually right in my thoughts.
If you like true crime drama’s or documentaries, or serial killer thrillers then grab yourself a copy of this it is so well written, you won’t want to put it down. Another hit for Victoria Selman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victoria Selman is the author of the critically acclaimed Ziba MacKenzie series. Her debut novel, Blood for Blood, was shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award and an Amazon Charts #1 bestseller for five weeks, selling over half a million copies.
Victoria has written for the Independent, co-hosts Crime Time FM with critics, Barry Forshaw and Paul Burke, compiles the Afraid of the Light charity anthology series and was shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award.
Her first standalone thriller, TRULY DARKLY DEEPLY, is being published by Quercus in July 2022.