Sunday, 1 July 2018

Book Review: Lonely Girl (Crime/Mystery)

Title: Lonely Girl
Author: Lynne Vincent McCarthy
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date: 26th June 2018
Pages: 336
Format read: Paperback
Source: copy courtesy of publisher


He knows he's innocent. She knows he's a killer. Who do you believe?

In the shadow of a mountain in small-town Tasmania, a woman named Ana is watching the clock, marking the days until she ends her life.

The strange, reclusive daughter of the local pariah, that's how people will remember her, when they remember her at all. No one will mourn her, she reasons, not really. Not even her faithful dog River. The only thing she's waiting for is the opportunity.

But then, on the very day she planned to end it all, the police find the body of local woman Rebecca Marsden. And for Ana, that changes everything. Because Ana was the last person to see Rebecca alive. Because Ana thinks she knows who killed her. And because Ana has decided to keep him for herself...

                      My thoughts

A haunting debut for fans of Patricia Highsmith, Paula Hawkins and A.J. Finn.

Ana lives alone in a secluded forested area in small-town Tasmania. Her only companion her beloved and ageing dog, River.

Right from the start we see that Ana is a little unhinged, a recluse, preferring to observe people rather than interact. After a life of mental abuse and neglect from her mother and grandmother she has learnt to be invisible, to be unremarkable and unnoticed. But she notices others.

The story starts with Ana’s all consuming thoughts for River. He is unwell and doesn’t have long to live and she cannot bear to think of a life without him so she plans for her last days with him.  
The focus of the story suddenly changes to captor and captive. I don’t want to give too much away but Ana now has captive the man she believes murdered a woman the night before. She starts digging around asking questions about the murder victim and visiting the bar she was last seen in. The more she talks to the captive man she starts to question what she has done. Is he really guilty? What is real and what is imagined?

This is an eerie tale with ghosts of the past in Ana’s head as she flits from caring nurturer to sexually charged predator. She is in way over her head and can’t see a way out but the yearning is stronger than the fear.

Most of the characters are unlikeable except of course River, the dog, he is in constant pain but is forever faithful and protective of Ana. Also Lenny, Ana’s employer, who was much like River faithful and protective wherever Ana was concerned.

I’m going to end with an old cliché here as this did keep me up late, late into the night because I had no idea how this was going to end.

McCarthy has earned her spot as an immensely talented crime/mystery writer with this chilling debut filled with tension and drama that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page.

I will be eagerly looking out for McCarthy’s next novel.

*I received a copy from the publisher

Content: minimal coarse language, one implied sex scene.

                                 About the author

LYNNE VINCENT MCCARTHY is a script advisor and screenwriter and has worked as a Development Executive at both Screen Australia and Screen NSW. Lonely Girl is her first novel. It has also been developed for film. She lives in Sydney.

Connect with the author at the following sites.

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Reviews Aussie author challenge
and book #17 in the Australian Women Writers challenge 


  1. Great review! I love crime/mystery books and this one seems like it is right up my alley. I will have to add it to my TBR.

  2. I do love mystery books. This might be something that I will read in the future. Thanks for putting it on my radar.:)

  3. Great review! This sounds like a book I would enjoy.

  4. Great review, this sounds like an intense read.

  5. Great review! This sounds twisty and addicting.

  6. Great review. This really appeals to me.

  7. This looks like something I must have - thanx for the review

  8. This one sounds amazing. I held my breath during your whole review!

  9. This sounds like a creepy / mind-play type mystery ... I'm not a huge thriller fan myself but it sounds good!

  10. This one sounds trippy! Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. I was sucked in, too. It was like a car accident - you don't want to look, you don't want to see, but you just have to know how it happened. I was impressed by McCarthy's ability to keep you hooked despite none of the characters being redeeming. (Except for the vet, perhaps. And, as you pointed out, River. We disagree on Lenny!)

  12. Great review, this is the first time I heard about this book and it looks and sounds like an amazingly fantastic book, I'm glad you enjoy this book, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post and for putting this book on my radar.

  13. I like the sound of this book. It is most definitely my kind of read. Great review.

  14. I must confess: I only realised while reading this review that I have never in my life read a book set in Tasmania :| What have I been doing with myself?! This sounds like it might be a good one to start with, I *love* a cast of unlikeable characters! Thank you for sharing! <3

    1. I’ve read plenty of great books set in Tasmania. It is very atmospheric, ideal for any genre. Try Fortune’s Son by Jennifer Scoullar or The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon.