The Good Daughter – Alexandra Burt


The Good Daughter is published in the USA by Berkley on 7 February 2017 and is available to buy here on It will be available in the UK from 23rd February from Avon.

From the author of Remember Mia comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

My thoughts

The Good Daughter is the latest mystery to hit the bookshelves from Alexandra Burt. It is a slow burning character study of two oddball characters, daughter Dahlia and her mother, Memphis. Plus there are jars of creepy crickets thrown in for good measure! Yuck!

Different characters are explored in turn, as we hear from Dahlia, Memphis and a woman named Quinn. At the beginning of the book, it feels like you are thrown into the most complicated puzzle. Who is who? Who is Quinn? Who is Memphis? What does it all mean? With a little patience, it all knits together. This is a story of motherhood, unconventional family life and difficult choices. It is about Dahlia, a woman who has been brought up by her mother to live a life off the radar. Dahlia has no official records, no birth certificate or National Insurance number (or whatever the equivalent is in the US). She calmly accepts the jobs she must take are ones that continue to make her invisible in the eyes of the State. It seems odd, but this is the way she has been brought up and she is not the sort of woman to demand her rights. Certain things result in Dahlia beginning to question her rather odd little world. She feels drawn to a female jogger who has been attacked. No one knows who this woman is. Then her mother starts to decline mentally and starts to reveal information about herself. What are Memphis’s secrets? And how will Dahlia cope with the truth about the past?

This book requires a great deal of patience initally. It is worth it! We know very early on that there is something suspicious about this mother and daughter; how Memphis became the mother to Dahlia. It is also pretty obvious that something illegal has gone on. No one lives the kind of ‘cash in hand’ life, working in the most low skilled jobs unless they have no choice. No one moves around all of the time, unless they are living in some kind of fear. This is a slow reveal mystery. It is a case of how did this mother/daughter relationship happen? What made Memphis the kind of woman who is terrified of authority figures? What kind of woman is Memphis?

Complicated, eerie and distinctly odd; this is a book to savour. It will shock and disturb. I was desperate for Dahlia to just go to the authorities, to get paperwork, to be normal. I really was! This is one strange mother/daughter relationship, I won’t forget!



About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to The Good Daughter – Alexandra Burt

  1. crimeworm says:

    I don’t remember Remember Mia but I do remember seeing Little Girl Gone. What a bunch of bizarrely named characters, btw! This sounds intriguing; I will try to get to it. (And Mr C and I have come to the conclusion they’re called social security details – or numbers. Should know; watch enough US crime fiction!)

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