Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
"Once a social worker specializing in kids who were the victims of violent crime, Elle Castillo is now the host of a popular true crime podcast that tackles cold cases of missing children in her hometown of the Twin Cities. After two seasons of successfully solving cases, Elle decides to tackle her white whale—The Countdown Killer. Twenty years ago, TCK abruptly stopped after establishing a pattern of taking and ritualistically murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why—why he stopped with his eleventh victim, a girl of eleven years old, or why he followed the ritual at all.
When a listener phones in with a tip, Elle sets out to interview him, only to discover his dead body. And within days, a child is abducted following the original TCK MO. Unlike the experts in the media and law enforcement who have always spun theories of a guilty suicide, Elle never believed TCK had died, and her investigation was meant to lay that suspicion to rest. But instead, her podcast seems to be kicking up new victims."
Girl, 11 is a standalone mystery-thriller novel by Amy Suiter Clarke.
Did this absolutely blow my mind, not necessarily? But did this present an intriguing and immersive story following a serial killer, why yes it did? This was a good, solid story that had good development and a good resolution.
Let's start with the first thing about this book that worked really well - the multimedia format. If you are a fan of true crime podcasts, I highly suggest that you pick up the audiobook. Not only does it have a (mostly) full cast, part of the format itself is in the form of a podcast. Along with the blend of interview style and normal dialogue, this is a format that just works perfectly for the story that is being told.
I thought that this brought up some interesting topics and questions I think of regarding true crime. For instance, there is an inherent danger when it comes to bringing light to crimes of people who are either still active, or if there is ever a slight chance of a copycat killer listening. This also sheds light on the reality of serial killers. There was a quote in this that I thought was interesting - "Genetics load the gun, personality and psychology aims it, and experience pulls the trigger." At the end I also like how there was an emphasis on the victims as they are what should be focused on instead of sensationalizing the killer.
I will say though, one thing that I generally don't like to read about in books is bad characters who are motivated by misogynistic or religious reasons. It really grinds me when characters are depicted as using religion as an excuse to do bad things.
Overall though, this was a solid mystery-thriller perfect for fans of true crime podcasts. If you do pick this up, I highly suggest you listen to the audiobook instead of reading it physically.