No Country for Girls
PublisherSphere
Date Published21 July 2022
 
 
ISBN-100751583839
ISBN-13 978-0751583830
Formathardcover
Pages352
Price£ 16.99

No Country for Girls

by Emma Styles

Two girls who are thrown together by circumstances not to their liking take off on the run from a killing and the theft of gold bullion deep in the badlands of Australia.


Review

Every now and then you open a book, and you know immediately that here is something fresh and new and exciting. This novel is all of that, with extra flourishes. Australia and her quirks, countryside and people are in vogue now – quite rightly – and here is a cat and mouse chase across the great expanse of this huge open land.

Two girls who are thrown together by circumstances not to their liking take off on the run from a killing and the theft of gold bullion deep in the badlands of Australia with only each other to rely on, some very dangerous people after them, and not many friends to call for help.  

There is nothing new about a chase, or the good guys and the bad.  Two girls in a car (or cars), killing, death, crashes, desperate scrabbles to get away, stolen gold, endless miles and miles of outback, hopes, dreams and despair. But my goodness, the difference is in the way the story is told.

The girls on the run are not friends, there is no trust between them – they have been thrown together through circumstances, so there is none of the Thelma and Louise cosiness. Instead, there is tension and questioning. Are they being wholly truthful with each other?  Do they know who exactly is chasing them and why?  Where are they running to, and is the mixed race, older and seemingly calmer of the two altogether more in charge than the cocky, aggressive-defensive, teenager?

There is no apparent safety net for either, and I was on the ride with them – screaming at their mistakes, anxious about the bad guys’ viciousness, wishing them a home to arrive at and fearful that it will just not end well. Their flimsy hold on survival and a future becomes a personal issue for the onlookers into their skidding and shuddering journey. All I could do was hold my breath and hope …

No Country for Girls is both original and brilliant, and it is hard to believe that this first-class novel by Australian-born Emma Styles, now living in the UK, is a debut. She has put her MA in crime writing from UEA to good use.

Reviewed 22 July 2022 by Kerry Hood

Kerry Hood has worked in publishing for many years and lived in London for just as many, but suspects her heart is in the country.