The Next Girl by Pip Drysdale is a fascinating read, featuring a narrator who – initially anyway – has her secrets, sharing them with us slowly but surely. At times it’s written in second person, as if Billie is talking directly to us. Filling us on on her past and confiding in us now.
Ultimately, she’s honest – with us anyway – so it’s hard not to like her as we learn what motivates her and feeds her obsession/s.
The Next Girl
by Pip Drysdale
Published by Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon and Schuster Au
Source: Simon & Schuster
When Billie wakes up in a strange guy’s bed, her first thought is: what happened last night? She can't even remember meeting him. And how the hell did she get to Coney Island?
Then reality bites and the memories flood in – the reason she was in that bar, drinking to start with: today she's going to get fired. Because yesterday her law firm lost a big case: Samuel Grange v Jane Delaney. And it looked like it was her fault.
It wasn't. Yet now Samuel Grange is free to drive off into the sunset in his stupid Porsche and do it all again to another woman. And all Billie can think is: What about the next girl? And the one after that? But there is nothing she can do to stop him.
Unless ... She could expose the truth about him on her own. Then everyone would see what he was really like. And he wouldn't be able to do it again.
The problem is, the only way to protect the next girl is to become the next girl. And, well, that could be a little risky ... even deadly.
The character development was the standout here for me. Billie is sympathetic and engaging. Very likeable. We meet old and new friends so get an understanding of how important connections are to her and how much she values loyalty and friendships.
She’s getting sacked when we meet her but finds it hard to forget about the women whose lives Dr Samuel Grange has destroyed. And – we learn – she can’t help herself. Initially she’s just going to take a peak into his life, but before long she’s inside his life and ready to exact revenge. Which is when we learn some of Billie’s secrets.
I liked the way Drysdale shares the snippets and she does a great job at indulging we readers (via Billie) in confidences. Confessions, if you like, about her past. We’re like her own personal AA group…. important given she’s blowing off meetings and her sponsor here.
I also appreciated where Drysdale takes this story – delivering a surprising turn quite early on. It’s not predictable and she introduces some additional threads – rather than red herrings – others with agendas and Billie finds herself a little unsure (for a change) about who to trust.
This is the fourth book I’ve read by Drysdale and in many ways this has something for everyone. Certainly the whodunnit element but with some heavier themes around sexual violence, coercion and control. And of course obsessions, revenge and vengeance.
The Next Girl by Pip Drysdale was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.