I picked up a copy of Dear Daughter at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, but didn’t have a chance to read it until a month later. I finished it twenty-four hours later, having completely neglected the family, the house, and the dog.
Janie Jenkins has just been released from prison, after her conviction for the murder of her mother is overturned. She doesn’t know if she’s guilty or not, embarking upon a road trip across several American states in order to find out.
Elizabeth Little takes a big risk in this book. Janie is egotistical, flippant, and thoroughly dislikable, with few redeeming features. She is also the only narrative voice, telling her story in a conversational monologue that could easily become irritating. I found that it didn’t. And despite Janie’s flaws, I found her utterly compelling. The combination of gritty crime and edgy humour works brilliantly, and the plot is pacy and exciting.
It’s always refreshing to find something totally different, and Dear Daughter is like no other thriller I’ve read.
Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little is published by Harvill Secker. Photo credit Vintage Books Design.
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