The Girl In The Green Dress – Cath Staincliffe

‘This a wonderful novel, powerful, humane and moving. It’s also one of the best police procedurals I’ve read this year’ Ann Cleeves

How far would you go to protect your child?

Can you really keep them safe? What if who they are puts them at risk?

And what if they have blood on their hands?

Teenager Allie Kennaway heads off for prom night, cheered on by her dad Steve and little sister Teagan. But Allie never comes home, beaten to death in an apparent hate crime because of her transgender identity. As police investigate the brutal murder, a crime that has appalled the country, one parent is at her wit’s end with her son’s behaviour. Are his outbursts and silences hiding something much darker than adolescent mood swings? And if her suspicions are correct, then what does she do? Another parent will fight tooth and nail to save his boy from the full force of the law. After all, blood is thicker than water and everyone should look after their own. But if he succeeds then Allie and her family will never get the justice they deserve.

A groundbreaking story of love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, in a world of change.


As a start, what an absolutely wonderful cover. There is something hauntingly beautiful about it for me.

Trans issues are something that are very much at the forefront of media coverage at the moment, and I like the way that has translated into this novel. I found that the issues surrounding not only knowing you identify as transgender but also the problems and fears a parent of a trans child may have were very well written in this novel.

I cannot remotely understand how it must feel to identify with a gender other than the one you were physically born with, but I can imagine there are so many things that go through your head and emotionally it must be a huge strain.

The way Allie’s dad Steve and sister Teagan talk about her is absolutely beautiful, they speak about her as a young woman too which I think is very powerful. It must have been a difficult adjustment for the family, as the murder happened quite recently after Allie’s choice to fully transition to living as a woman outside the home.

I found the novel quite fast paced, and I enjoyed getting to know Jade one of the main characters of the novel.  I loved her determination and gutsy fight to get where she wants to be within the police ranks. It also helps that she is good at her job, and determined to leave no stone unturned in the race to find Allie’s killer.

One thing that slightly spoilt my enjoyment of this book was the lead police investigator, this is not only an issue with this novel but I find it appears quite frequently in other crime novels as well. Why must all police personnel have family problems or anger issues.? That theme did seem to be taken to the extreme when it came to the lead policewoman in this novel who was so detached from her children and family, I can’t imagine her children remembering what she looked like.

However this was a fast paced, intriguing, thoughtful crime novel that kept me wondering if the real murderers would ever be caught. It’s interesting choice of topic in covering transphobic hate crime was powerfully written and is a story that I felt should be told.

If you want to know more about Cath then check her out on Twitter. 

Thank you to Little Brown Books & NetGalley for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review.



  1. December 30, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    That sounds like a great book. I can’t wait to read more in the new year x

    • The Crooked Bookmark
      December 30, 2017 / 12:31 pm

      If you ever need a recommendation give me a shout 🙂 x

      • December 30, 2017 / 1:03 pm

        Brill! Thank you. I have one of Kiki archers and girl on the train to read yet x

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