Irish Fiction Week Review: Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips

Monday 16 March 2015
Title: Red Ribbons
Author: Louise Phillips
Publisher: Hachette Ireland
Publication Date: 3rd September 2012
Pages: 413
ISBN: 9781444743029
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
A SERIAL KILLER: When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl's body 24 hours later.

THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.

AN ACCUSED WOMAN: Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?

What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you're guilty?

Louise Phillips is an author I have wanted to read since starting the blog almost a year ago, one of the many that came to my attention when I discovered this wonderful part of the Internet where readers, authors and publishers alike discuss books all day long. Sharon's (Shaz's Book Blog) Irish Fiction Week was the perfect time then for me to finally pick up Red Ribbons, and I am so glad that I did.

Red Ribbons focuses on three main characters. The serial killer, responsible for the murders of missing schoolgirls. The first of which is found buried in the Dublin mountains, two red ribbons in her hair. The discovery of a second girl leads to the police bringing in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson to get inside the mind of the killer before he strikes again. The third character being Ellie Brady, institutionalised for 15 years for the murder of her twelve-year-old daughter, we follow her story and it becomes clear that she could hold the key to finding the killer.

As always with books like this it is difficult to discuss the plot further than the blurb above yet what I would say is that it's one hell of a story. Red Ribbons drew real emotion from me as a reader, focusing as it does on the murder of young girls, something that can be difficult to read about yet compelling at the same time. For the most part I was unable to stop reading this book, such was my desire to reach its conclusion. The book is very much a mystery and with the reader wanting instantaneous answers to the questions thrown up along the way, I imagine that I'm not the only reader who was still wide awake at 2am turning the pages. The race to the conclusion in particular was very well done, addictive, heart-stopping, all the cliches, but brilliant. Knowing who the killer was did in no way detract from my enjoyment of the book, in fact it was all the more tense and chilling knowing who the killer was, and getting inside his warped and evil mind.

Louise Phillips creates a brilliant sense of atmosphere in Red Ribbons, almost transporting the reader from where they read and placing them inside the book. It's a quite chilling read in places. With the majority of chapters also being titled with where that particular chapter is taking place helping to build a more vivid picture in the mind of the reader. Louise clearly knows the setting, using it to full effect to enhance the story. The writing is incredibly strong as well, and the fact that this is a debut novel is astounding. The pace in the beginning was perhaps a little slow, but with setting the scene and introducing the characters that's to be expected. Other than that, brilliant.

Overall I really enjoyed Red Ribbons and do not hesitate in recommending it. A very promising start to a series that I know only gets better having read the reviews from my fellow bloggers for subsequent books.


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