By: William G. Muir
So the other day I did something that I have been failing to do more of lately, that is read a book. I know I just read and posted a review of Solstice Magic not to long ago, but seriously I have been way behind in my reading. I have Lord knows how many books just sitting in my Kindle waiting to be read. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point they all chose to protest and hold my Kindle hostage.
That would teach me.
So instead of using my Kindle as a portable way to play Sudoku when I am away from my computer. I actually clicked on the book option and looked through my library. Sitting there, untouched for well over a year was the book Wild Girls by Lisa Morton. I had never heard of Ms. Morton before, but evidently she has been around for a while. I happened to come across this book when my friend Ray Garton had posted on his Facebook page that free copies of the book were available on Amazon.
Since I believe this has been sitting on my Kindle the longest, among the books I haven’t read yet, I decided to take a look at it. I had no idea what kind of a writer Ms. Morton was, so I had no clue if it would be a genre I enjoyed or not. But hey, I am a rebel like that.
So over a four hour period my world was wrapped up in this book. How was it?
The book starts off in the woods with four rich college frat boys drinking, doing whatever college boys do in the woods, and camping. One of the boys has to answer the call of nature and is told to take it far away from the camp site. After stumbling around in the woods with just lighter to light his way, he finds a tree to relieve himself on.
Here is where we meet the first of our two antagonist, Jessie. Petey (the frat boy looking to take a leak) is startled to see Jessie just standing behind him after he has finished with his business. Being a drunken, rich, college boy he decides to take advantage of this lone girl in the woods. But she has a surprise waiting for him, a knock upside the head with big tree limb.
When Petey comes to we meet our second antagonist, Dens. They have tied Petey to a log in the woods, stripped him down and proceed to sodomize him with a police nightstick. The same nightstick that Dens’ stepfather used to molest her with. But something goes wrong, they ripped something. So there fun is cut short as they must kill him earlier than they would have liked.
We then meet Noelle, a reporter for a southern, small town newspaper. Young and eager to make a name for herself, she is sniffing around the crime scene. But Sheriff Johnson (one of two decent male characters in this book) is none to happy to have her nosing around his investigation. But she is able to talk him into allowing her to stay by pointing out that this story might be the one to land her a job with a paper in the big city. Meaning that she would no longer be in his hair.
We are then introduced to JohnnyJay (the other decent male in the book) and his brother Tadd. JohnnyJay is a thirteen year old poor boy, who lives in a dysfunctional home. When his parents are not fighting with each other, destroying the furniture, his father is slapping him around. His brother Tadd is no better. Twentysomething, with no job, he lives in his parent’s garage. The first time we meet Tadd he has drugged a girl and had sex with her, and offers JohnnyJay a go on her. JohnnyJay refuses to.
Jessie and Dens kill a few more guys in the book, each one of them scum. We learn that Jessie come from a poor family, the youngest of four kids, and the only girl. When she was a teenager her father started molesting her. When her mother found out she left. Then Jessie’s father started bringing a friend from work home. While her father watched tv his friend would rape her. After the friend would leave her father would have his turn at her.
Dens, twenty-six at the time, first met a sixteen year old Jessie as she attempts to shoplift a can of food. Dens talks Jessie out of stealing the food and offers to buy her dinner. At dinner Jessie tells Dens her life story and how she wishes to kill her father. Dens talks Jessie into going to stay with her aunt in Jackson instead and offers to kill her father. That way Jessie has an alibi; when the time was right she could back home.
A year later Jessie and Dens kill the dad’s friend.
During one of the crime scenes Noelle and Sheriff Johnson each give their thoughts on who might be the killer. The sheriff thinks that it might be the work of a disgruntled homosexual man. Noelle feels that the murders have been committed by at least two women. Her suspicions are strengthen by a wound she believes could only be caused by the heel of high heel shoe.
During one of these murders, JohnnyJay witness it from the back seat of his brother’s car. He tells his brother that he recognized the woman as the girl who works the register at a local convenient store (Jessie). Tadd has liked this girl for some time, and convinces his brother if he tells the cops that they would put him in a foster home for not trying to stop it.
Late one night Tadd and JohnnyJay show up and standout side the store where Jessie works. After a while JohnnyJay leaves. After work Tadd confronts Jessie as she is walking out to her car. She pulls her knife, the same knife she has used to kill the other men, and slashes at Tadd. But he is armed as well, and shots her. They have a brief scuffle, Jessie manages to kill Tadd.
It turns out her wound is fatal and she bleeds to death.
Noelle recognizes Jessie at the crime scene. She had run into Jessie at a local bar a few nights before and remember her from school. The two women spent the night reliving memories of days gone by. From their conversation Noelle believed that Jessie might be one of the killers. So she got her friend Ruth Ann (dispatcher for the Sheriff’s department) to get her the address of Tadd’s family.
Dens is visited by Sheriff Johnson, who informs her that her friend and roommate is dead. While he is there he notices a blood stain one of the couch cushions. Dens tells the Sheriff that Jessie had brought in a dog who had hit by a car and tried to nurse it back to health. But the dog bleed to death.
Sheriff Johnson seems to buy the story and leaves. Dens figures it will not be long before they match Jessie’s knife to the wounds of the murder victims. Then they will come with a subpoena and search the house, test the cushion and discover the blood was from one of their victims. At the most she has a day or two before the police come back knocking on her door. Just enough time for her to get revenge on the man’s family who killed Jessie.
I will stop their so I do not spoil the ending.
What did I think of this book, would I recommend it? I found Wild Girls to be an easy read. It moved at a good steady pace, making it a fairly fast read. It was interesting enough to hold my attention for four straight hours. Often times with even a good book I am tempted to take breaks every now and then. I do have to add at times the book read more like a play by play announcement than a narrative story. It was like I was reading Jim Nantz’s account of what was going on.
There was at least one thing that Ms. Morton did in this book that I am not a big fan of. The character Noelle is able to guess every detail of who is committing these crimes. I am not a big fan of characters having knowledge that they shouldn’t have. If you are going to do that make the character psychic. Not that I believe in psychics but this is fiction and I am ok with psychic in fictional work. But if the character is going to be guessing, not all of their guess should be right. They should be off on some of them.
To me this is just lazy writing, a way for a character to have knowledge without having to do any work to obtain it first.
Having said that I would recommend this book to anyone looking to check it out. Especially to young women who want to read something that involve the female characters who fight back at those who wrong them and do not accept being victims.
I give the book 3/4 of a thumbs up.