Billie Jo by Kimberley Chambers


My Rating: 4/5

Billie Jo is an only child and is loved and adored by her father Terry. Terry and Michelle have been married for years and Terry is a well known villain in the area. Their marriage is far from perfect and their constant arguments are cause for concern to Billie Jo. Terry decides to confide in his young daughter that she won’t have to put up with her drunk and waste of space mother for too long as he has met somebody else. Terry is involved with his secretary and she is pregnant and he is determined to start afresh. Life is about to deal Terry a blow and it will shatter Billie Jo’s life.

Shockingly I only picked up my first Kimberley Chambers book at the end of last month. Since then I have gone and brought her first two books and devoured them both. The Betrayer was Kimberley’s 3rd book and was a first class read. Her second book published Born Evil I loved but it wasn’t a patch on The Betrayer. Seeing as Billie Jo was her debut novel I knew I would enjoy it but figured it wouldn’t be as good as her more recent stuff. It is obvious to me whilst reading her books that her writing got better and better with each book she produced. I cannot wait to get stuck into The Feud which is her fourth release. I think I didn’t give KC enough credit as this book was a corker too.

Her writing style like I have said before is NOT for the feint hearted. If you don’t like swearing then her books are a definite no-no. Her debut novel starts out by introducing us to Billie Jo Keane is a young girl who has to deal with her parents constantly arguing. Not only that, but her mother is a drinker who doesn’t care for Billie Jo and thinks only of herself. Within the first 30-40 pages I was enthralled by this eclectic mix of a family. The author has a great way of getting you into their lives very quickly and you feel a certain empathy with people very quickly.

Just as I was getting my teeth into the beginning of the story a shocking twist is thrown straight at you, and was one that I didn’t see coming. If I’m honest it threw me off balance and I wondered how the story would carry on. Thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong and you soon realise that this event is the catalyst for Billie Jo’s life events.

The story is stretched over a few years and we see large segments of peoples lives lived and the outcome of each bad decision made. In the first third of the book I (as usual) had my favourites and the ones that I loathed. What surprised me is that I didn’t realise just how much that opinion would change by the end of the book.

The story itself is like I said pretty fast paced and with the initial shocking twist I wasn’t expecting too many surprises. Although there weren’t any major plot twists I was quite surprised how things eventually turned out. This book, like the other two I read were everything I want from a great crime read; characters that have real strong personalities, great settings with real authenticity, and a great plot. Kimberley Chambers can do no wrong in my eyes; she is a serious contender for becoming the number one British Crime writer this year. She is showing the public what crime writing should be about and I would imagine making a few of the `old-timers’ quake in their boots.

Highly recommended author, if you haven’t read her before give her a go and start at the beginning with Billie Jo, you won’t be disappointed.

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