The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey
They are called the ‘special girls’. How are they special and why were they chosen? Historical child sex abuse is linked to the murder of a young doctor in this gripping psychological thriller
A doctor is found beaten to death in woods close to a summer camp for young women with eating disorders. The camp is run by the charismatic Professor Chesham. DI Grace Fisher is called in, but is quickly pulled from the investigation – to head up a cold case inquiry involving Chesham himself.
Some years earlier, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her.
As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to the special girls – and the danger they are still in.
This novel opens up with a violent murder, committed at a holiday camp for teenagers with eating disorders. The victim is junior doctor Tim Merrick he was there to provide therapy support for the girls. Eventually we meet several characters at the retreat. Dr Ned Chesham is the senior psychiatrist in charge. Crystal his nursing assistant and the owners of the retreat. This novel is police procedural and the Detective Grace Fisher is left feeling the pressure juggling both the internal politics of the metropolitan police & coppers from her past. When the case reveals that it may have a link to historical abuse.
I have read many novels that feature historical abuse. But none quite like this one. The plot somehow manages to touch on every theme related & is a full and frank account of how Historical abuse has a distressing impact on victims & their families. It touches upon how abusers target victims with no credibility and how they ultimately engulf the victims via controlling behaviours & manipulation. It negotiates feelings of self-blame and blaming others. With more & more victims coming forward in real life. We are very much reminded that although abusers sexually violate the body, their behaviour also causes a huge strain on the victims mental wellbeing. Essentially………How do you take down a man…….When he holds all the power?
There are some other background characters, all of them woven into this cleverly written book. The cop from the past, past victims and the journalist determined to aid the case. It builds and builds to an absolutely devastating ending…….Which again fully demonstrates how this particular case of historical abuse effects every single character involved in the novel. As a mother myself of a teenage girl, I found this very shocking and thought provoking. A very difficult topic and a 5* read!
*I received an Ebook via Netgalley in return for an honest review.