Good Girl, Bad Girl

A Novel

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About The Book

Good Girl, Bad Girl is a gripping and eerie read. You won’t be able to look away.” —Karin Slaughter, #1 international bestselling author

From the bestselling author of The Secrets She Keeps, the writer Stephen King calls “an absolute master…with heart and soul,” a fiendishly clever suspense novel about a dangerous young woman with a special ability to know when someone is lying—and the criminal psychologist who must outwit her to survive.

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth? Fiendishly clever, swiftly paced, and emotionally explosive, Good Girl, Bad Girl is the perfect thrilling summer read from internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Good Girl, Bad Girl includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

From internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham, Good Girl, Bad Girl is a psychological thriller about a forensic psychologist caught between two cases—one girl who needs to be saved, and another who needs justice.

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl next door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, what price will Cyrus pay for the truth?

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. Good Girl, Bad Girl opens with an epigraph from Oscar Wilde, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” After reading the novel, do you agree with this assessment?

2. How did you feel about following two points of view throughout the entire novel? How does the Michael Robotham establish distinct voices for Cyrus and Evie/“Angel Face”? Why do you think he chose to use Angel Face as chapter titles, instead of Evie Cormac? Did this change how you viewed the character?

3. Even though Cyrus says his doctoral thesis disproved the existence of “truth wizards,” do you think he still believes they exist? Is it possible that Evie is a truth wizard? Or is she just extraordinarily perceptive? If she is a truth wizard, do you think it’s a gift or a curse?

4. Cyrus says that, because of his training, he refuses to “define people as being good or evil” (page 32). Do you think this is true? Do you think the title of the book undermines this idea by setting certain characters against one another as either good or bad?

5. Cyrus wonders if “Evie remembers what happened to her or has chosen to forget” (page 99). Do you think Evie remembers her past and is choosing not to reveal the truth to Cyrus and others, or has she purposely forgotten the trauma as a coping mechanism? Would you consider her a liar if she were purposely concealing her memories? Why or why not?

6. Both Evie and Cyrus are grappling with childhood trauma. Do you think their similar experiences are what draw Cyrus to Evie? How do you think his past impacted his relationship with her, both as her psychologist and her guardian?

7. We all see people how we want them to be seen rather than acknowledging them for who they really are. Why do you think this is? How does this tendency to project our own expectations onto others create problems for the characters in the novel?

8. Evie wonders why, “in a world full of suffering and sadness, why should anybody ‘accept their reality’ when they could change it?” (page 259). Do you think she accepts her reality by the end of the novel? Why or why not?

9. How do the events in chapter 13, when Evie disarms Brodie at Langford Hall, foreshadow the events that transpire between her, Felicity Whitaker, and Cyrus?

10. Throughout the novel, a number of characters conceal the truth or tell lies in order to protect other people, including Evie. She tells Cyrus that she won’t tell him her real name, because if she does, he’ll die, because that’s what happens to everyone she loves. Do you believe her? Do you think it’s ever okay to lie to someone?

11. Discuss your reactions to the novel’s last chapter, where it’s revealed that Cyrus thinks he was wrong about Evie all along. Do you think there was some truth to the story people told about her? If not, why do you think Evie went along with the lie?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Good Girl, Bad Girl is the second book in which Cyrus Haven appears as a character. Read The Secrets She Keeps and discuss Cyrus’s character development, from supporting character to protagonist.

2. Sacha Hopewell, the officer who discovered “Angel Face,” fled the country after the attention the case drew. There are laws against revealing Evie Cormac’s identity as “Angel Face.” When Cyrus recalls the details of the case, he recalls real-life cases of kidnapped girls, including Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard. Research media coverage and reactions to these cases online. How does it compare to the fictional aftermath in the novel?

About The Author

Photograph by Tony Mott

Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist whose psychological thrillers have been translated into twenty-three languages. In 2015 he won the prestigious UK Gold Dagger for his novel Life or Death, which was also shortlisted for the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. Michael has twice won a Ned Kelly Award for Australia's best crime novel for Lost in 2015 and Shatter in 2008. He has also twice been shortlisted for the CWA UK Steel Dagger in 2007 for The Night Ferry and 2008 with Shatter. He lives in Sydney with his wife and three daughters. His recent novels include The Secrets She Keeps and Good Girl, Bad Girl.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (July 23, 2019)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982103620

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Raves and Reviews

“Stellar…Robotham is a master plotter at the top of his form, and readers will surely hope to see more of his complicated new characters.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review

“Haunting…Robotham expertly raises the tension as the action hurtles toward the devastating climax. Readers will hope the complex Cyrus will return for an encore.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

 

“Explosive...This sensitive, suspenseful mystery firmly establishes Robotham in the top ranks of psychological-thriller writers. And it cries out for a sequel.” Booklist, STARRED review

“Robotham’s writing is achingly beautiful in Good Girl, Bad Girl. He shows the redemptive power of love and trust on broken people who don't know how to ask for help. He also digs deeply into how well-meaning adults can hijack the aspirations of adolescents, causing irreparable damage... An unlikely pair of broken people come together to solve the murder of a junior champion ice skater in this spellbinding thriller.” —Shelf Awareness, STARRED review

Good Girl, Bad Girl is an impeccable thriller with a plot that encompasses murder, incest, drugs, abuse, torture, sex—you name it, this book has it.” New York Journal of Books

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