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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review of THOSE GIRLS by Chevy Stevens

3.5 Stars
This thriller is set in rural Alberta and Vancouver.  The three Campbell girls (Dani, Courtney, and Jess) have to flee after an incident involving their abusive alcoholic father.  Enroute to Vancouver, they stop in Cash Creek, a small town where they encounter Brian and Gavin Luxton, and things go from bad to worse. 

The second half of the novel finds the girls in Vancouver 18 years later, living with new identities; they have become Dallas, Crystal and Jamie.  Crystal disappears and Jamie’s daughter, Skylar, sets off to find her aunt whom she believes has gone to Cash Creek on a revenge mission. 

The first part of the book is narrated by Jess, the youngest sister; the second part adds chapters narrated by Skylar, her daughter. 

The novel is fast-paced and action-packed so readers looking for a thriller will not be disappointed.  Some of the sections are difficult to read: there are graphic descriptions of violence made even more horrific because the narrators are young girls.

An issue I have with the book is characterization.  Brian and Gavin are pure evil; they have no redeeming qualities so they are not convincing characters.  The fact that they reside in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business makes their hidden activities unrealistic.  Other supporting characters tend to be the opposite:  too good to be true. 

The characterization is also problematic when it comes to the three sisters.  They have been raised to be tough.  They have few illusions about life and people so their stupid and risky and naïve decisions just do not ring true.  And Skylar makes the same poor choices!

The aspect of the book that is a definite positive is its examination of the bond between sisters.  The three girls love each other and remain loyal regardless of what an individual sister does.  They are survivors because of this bond that gives them strength. 

There is a great deal of tension, but the plot is rather predictable and the characterization is weak.