Thursday 13 August 2015

Little Girls - Ronald Malfi's Classic in the Making

 Ronald Malfi scores a massive hit with his latest – Little Girls.  Laurie Genarro returns to her childhood home which she has never revisited since her mother took her away from there suddenly when Laurie was a child. In that long-ago childhood, Laurie had a friend who lived next door. Sadie Russ was the sort of child no one should have as a friend – and most kids wouldn’t have wanted to. Laurie grew to both hate and fear her – for good reason. Now Laurie has a child of her own – Susan – around the same age Laurie was when a terrible accident happened and her friend next door died.

Then there is the sinister matter of how her father met his end. Suffering from dementia, he had become obsessed with keeping some nameless person or monster out of his house. The door at the bottom of the stairs leading to the tiny room he called the ‘belvedere’ was always kept locked. Yet, it was from a window of that room he fell to his death in the middle of the night. Now Laurie must confront some significant demons of the past and she is particularly unnerved to discover her daughter has taken up with a new playmate – a girl who bears an uncanny resemblance to long-dead Sadie, and who is living next door.

I adore a great ghost story and I loved this book. It kept me glued to the page, and thinking about it when I reluctantly had to tear myself away to deal with the business of real life. There are so many secrets to uncover, so many twists and turns and such a fabulously unexpected ending. The plot unfolds at a perfect pace, the smells, sights and sounds of the locations spring from the page, and the characters are real, their reactions natural, their fears transmitting themselves into the reader’s brain with an author’s deftness and skill I thoroughly appreciated.

This is my first Ronald Malfi and I am now looking forward to catching up with his back catalogue. Can’t wait!

You can find Little Girls here;