About the Book:
Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local newspaper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of her best friend – the town’s reigning showgirl, Lily Williams.
Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.
When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life.
What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy home town has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation.
Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way she could never have dreamed of.
Published by Simon and Schuster Australia
Released 7th July 2021
Well. Now this was different. I’ve always been partial to a bit of different from my books, movies and TV series. I really resist formulaic writing, which is why I suspect I don’t get along with certain genres. The author and I have an admiration for Twin Peaks in common; as soon as I read that, I honestly opened my mind up to all possibilities, and it just got better from there.
‘The past few days had taught me what it was like to not be able to trust anyone, but the thought of not being able to trust my own mind was an entirely new concept.’
This story is so twisted that the twists are even twisted. It’s one of those novels where the sands are shifting constantly, you have no idea what’s going on and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, becomes plausible. There are, in amongst the twists and turns, some pretty heavy themes to unpack and there is a distinct small town oppressive atmosphere permeating the narrative. I really didn’t like the way in which the older men in this town spoke to the young women. There was a patronising gas lighting quality to it that was all too authentic – and I say this as person who grew up in small towns, as well as residing in one for nearly a decade as an adult. They are not all cute cafes and scenic tourist spots – at least, not for the people who live there.
Not much can be elaborated on in terms of the plot because to do so would completely spoil it and therefore make it pointless for you to read it. And read it you should. Because this novel is clever and also the debut of an up-and-coming young Australian woman who I think is in for a big literary future. We need more books like this, ones that break conventional formulas and offer something unique. The way this all pans out might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll happily drink the whole pot.
Parts of this novel were really scary. No exaggeration. I messaged a friend when I first started reading and told her it was the scariest book I’d read since Silence of the Lambs, and I read that in the 1990s. And yet, I kept on reading – late into the night!
One thing I will leave you with, and you can consider it a key of sorts. After the prologue, there is a title page: The Showgirl’s Secret by Marlowe Robertson. When you get to the end, remember that title page. I did, and I finished with a smile on my face and a feeling that I’d just read the work of someone very talented indeed.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy and the invitation to participate in the blog tour.