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Girl, 11: A Crime Fiction book about a true crime podcaster


In Girl, 11, we start our novel with crime fiction staple, missing young women and girls. However like many other women crime writers Suitor-Clerk tries to take a trope that in the wrong hand could shore up harmful stereotypes, and instead turn it inside out. Meaning that it looks the same, almost a mirror image, but is presented in a way that is new, making you notice the difference.

Our protagonist is Elle, a woman who has hit true crime podcasting success, and is able to make enough from her investigations to do so full time.  However, the new deep dive case into an unsolved Minnesotan serial killer brings not just the average on-line abuse that a woman in public receives, but tips from a listeners who then dies mysteriously.   Sending Elle down a path which will also perilously close to the edge of what she can cope with – given the past she keeps extremely private.

It is never long before crime fiction follows true crime, and one has to wonder if the podcaster could be poised to replace the private eye, who’s peak in crime fiction does feel somewhat in the past.  The prospect of the podcaster as the new crime fiction hero – or more likely heroine, given true crimes demographics – is intriguing, as they bring in not just a new job, but drag with them an audience. Crowd sourced tips and assistance from dedicated, and occasionally obsessive, fan base who’d connection to the cast are part of their identity, brings a new host of questions as well as the continual true crime elephant in the room, which is the ethics of real crime as entertainment.

In Suitor-Clerks debut she touches on some of these questions, but it feels like there is fertile ground here that could do with more than one book to be fully explored.  Leaving us with the tantalising possibility that Elle might return with other cases.  If not in Suitor-Clerk we have an author that is absorbed in the cutting edge of true crime and I hope we can expect crime fiction that is just as up to the minute.

Next week the pod will have a interview with Suiter-Clark, so make sure you keep your ears open!

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