The Vale Girl

Nelika McDonald

Pan Macmillan

the-vale-girlISBN: 9781742612423

RRP: $29.99

Age: Adult

Key Words: Crime, Mystery

Published : 1st August 2013

Reviewer: Kylie Calwell

Sarah Vale has disappeared. The locals don’t seem all that interested, even her mother. Then again with a mother like that what would you expect. Sarah’s mother is the town prostitute and investigating this story will dig up some of the towns darkest secrets. Tommy Johns doesn’t care about other people’s secrets, he cares about Sarah and he is pretty sure he is the only one who does. He won’t give up until he finds out exactly what happened to her, regardless of what it does to the town.

Sergeant Henson won’t tolerate crime like this in his town, he is determined to make sure the mystery about what happened to Sarah doesn’t stay a mystery, even if it means digging through a whole towns dirty laundry and delving into things that happened long ago.

This is a tightly written mystery story. All the way through you think maybe you know what happened to Sarah. Tommy is a confused and driven young man, convinced that he has missed out on love now that Sarah is no longer there. His loss is what drives him in part. His family life isn’t that fantastic and it is one loss too many for him. The Sergeant is a solid addition to the story, as an outsider he can view things through a different lens and see things clearer than others can. He grounds the story, gives it the gravity to make it realistic.

All in all this is a tragic small town story. Close families where everyone knows everything about each other and they are complicit in unspoken events. McDonald has created a place that seems isolated and so sadly real. The characters themselves have an air of arrogance, untouchability and isolation. What happens in Banville stays in Banville and it is none of anyone else’s business.

Well worth reading if you like a slowly moving, engaging, small town mystery.

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