4 stars ****

Published by Penguin on 12th January 2017

Good Me Bad Me by [Land, Ali]

ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY, CONTROVERSIAL AND EXPLOSIVE DEBUTS OF 2017, Good Me Bad Me is for fans of quality psychological suspense and reading group fiction.

‘A gripping tale about a teenage girl waiting to give evidence at her serial-killer mother’s trial. Unsettling and unforgettable’ Heat


Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…


I enjoyed reading this book. The writing style felt quite different; lots of sparse, abrupt sentences and a variety of narrative tools used to indicate past events, inner voices or Milly’s mental confusion.

Milly (or Annie) was an interesting character, not altogether likeable but she made compelling reading and kept the reader guessing. Arguably the most interesting and dreaded character, Milly’s mother, remains anonymous for the whole of the book, always an imagined or peripheral character. Generally, the author doesn’t get caught up in the why or wherefores of her atrocious crimes.

The study of the mechanics of the dysfunctional foster family itself were interesting and thought-provoking.

There were parts of the book, particularly around the middle section, that felt as if the author lost a little focus and events stood still for a while, the story not really moving forward. But then the pace picked up in the last third of the book, particularly once the court hearing began and the tension built hard and fast and one or two surprises were in store.

I would definitely recommend this book for thriller fans who enjoy reading something a little dark and different.