It’s such a horrific subject for a novel. Had The Opposite of Amber been written by anyone other than Gillian Philip I’d have been much more reluctant to read it. There was still a little bit of me that didn’t feel quite ready for Amber, but as with Crossing the Line Gillian can be both tender and amusing on the subject of crime. In this case serial rape and murder.
Ruby and Jinn are orphans, but because Jinn is legally an adult, they were allowed to stay on in their home when their mother Lara died. Jinn has always been more of a mother to Ruby than Lara was, so Ruby is happy. They are poor, but have their love for each other and things are good.
Then the bad boy from Jinn’s past turns up, and he moves in on her, and then moves in with them. Rather like when a parent suddenly finds a new partner. Ruby hates Nathan, and it’s hard to tell whether it’s him she hates, or just that he’s taking over and Jinn has less time for her.
Several young girls are found murdered, and Jinn worries about Ruby. And before long Ruby starts to worry about Jinn. Nathan’s influence changes her, and before long there is real cause for concern.
The reader knows what will happen. It’s just the suspense of waiting and seeing how it happens and why. Sad as it is to see parents grieving for their murdered child, it’s far worse when you consider that Ruby and Jinn only have each other. And Nathan.
Plenty of red herrings as to who in the small community, if anyone, is the murderer. In a way that’s not what’s important. It’s seeing the victim as a real person, just like those grieving parents we see far too frequently in newspapers and on television do. In the news she’s ‘just a girl’. Now we know she was never ‘just a girl’.
Gillian Philip just gets better and better. I suspect there is nothing she can’t write about. And I suspect there is nothing I won’t read if it’s by Gillian.