Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth

Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth
Publisher: Spiderline
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (407 pgs)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Corinne Woodrow was fifteen when she was convicted of the ritualistic murder of her classmate in a quaint seaside town. It was 1984, a year when teenagers ran wild, dressed in black, stayed out all night, and listened to music that terrified their parents. Rumours of Satanism surrounded Corinne and she was locked up indefinitely, a chilling reminder to the parents of Ernemouth to keep a watchful eye on their children.

Twenty years later, private investigator Sean Ward — whose promising career as a detective with the Metropolitan Police was cut short by a teenager with a gun — reopens the case after new forensic evidence suggests that Corinne didn’t act alone. His investigation uncovers a town full of secrets, and a community that has always looked after its own.

Weirdo’s premise has all the makings of a top-notch suspense novel, cold case, ritualistic murder, young girl now locked up in a mental hospital, and new DNA evidence. I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint me in any way.

It’s told in two time periods, that of present day and also the time leading up to the murder. It’s skillfully handled and reads smoothly as it goes from one era to another.

The cast of characters was great. You might not like all of them, but you can’t help getting pulled into their story and lives. They’re an odd bunch but that’s what makes it such a compelling read. The setting of a small coastal town in Norfolk, England was the icing on the cake, and I think it really added another entertain layer to this dark mystery.

The one thing I loved best about this book was it kept me guessing. Ms. Unsworth didn’t cheat the reader on any details as it what happened and who was involved. Like good writing should be, each chapter you read was like peeling an orange and pulling apart its sections. It had me thinking one way but in the next chapter I discovered I was wrong which for someone who reads lots of mysteries was very refreshing.

Despite its length this book is fast paced. I found myself reading on just a few more chapters each time I sat down. The last third really kicks into high gear and you find yourself not wanting to stop until you’ve read the end. I won’t give it away but the author doesn’t disappoint and the payoff is well worth your extra time reading non-stop.

I haven’t read any of Ms. Unsworth’s other books but now I think I’m hooked and will be looking for other titles.

If you’re a fan of dark mysteries I highly recommend Weirdo for your upcoming fall reading list.

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