I picked this one up in part because it was blurbed by Megan Abbott. That makes sense as it reads like a story Megan Abbott would write.
And it helps that it’s a story put in the right hands of a writer such as Rebecca Godfrey, who examines the victim and those involved in her death with a critical but compassionate eye and an evocative writing style.
I appreciate true crime that doesn’t wallow in violence or intrigue, but instead paints a full picture of the involved parties and what brought them together. That’s what this one is. If you didn’t know the case of Reena Virk’s death, and I didn’t going in, you won’t be interested in a whodunnit angle. That’s made clear from the beginning. But you will get a complete reading on who helped kill her, their contemporaries, and how the fallout from her death impacted those around them.
What I also appreciate is how lyrical Rebecca Godfrey is about the story without being sensational. She harps in on sensory details, especially lighting, to give the reader a real feeling of being present and connected to the place and the story. But she doesn’t loose sight of the broader narrative.
I feel like the book falls short of greatness in how scant details are on Reeva herself. Maybe her family was noncooperative. Perhaps it’s reasonable that there aren’t many public details on a 14-year old’s life. Either way, I felt like she could sometimes be overly sympathetic to her killers and kind of silent on her.
Still, this is a good true crime tale, a uniquely written one that’s worth your time.