Friday, 30 June 2017

Review: Mister Tender's Girl

Mister Tender's Girl
Author: Carter Wilson
Publication Date: February 13th 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

I am completely fascinated by urban legends, so when I heard Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson was inspired by the very real 'Slender Man' stabbing, I couldn't wait to read this creepy novel.

Alice owns a coffee and sweets shop called the Stone Rose. 'Silence, memories and nighttime' frighten her. She suffers debilitating panic attacks. Her fears are not unfounded; she lives her life scared with good reason.

When Alice was a young girl living in London, her father created, wrote and inked a series of graphic novels about Mister Tender - a part human, part demon bartender who listens to his customer’s tales of woe and then convinces them to do very bad things.

A few nights before Halloween, Alice is walking home with two school friends. They are obsessed with her father's books and stab her multiple times claiming they were instructed to do so by Mister Tender. She survives the attack, but shortly after she is released from hospital her father stops writing the stories and her parents divorce. Alice and her brother move to America with their mother. Her father is later killed by an unknown assailant, the murderer never caught.

Now an adult, Alice keeps to herself. She is lonely and decides to check a dating site she has signed up with and is horrified to see she has a match under the screen name ‘Mister Tender'. Since moving to the US she has changed her name and never shared her past with anyone.

Wilson composes a very troubling, specific history for Alice and she grabbed my attention from the moment she was introduced. She has trained herself to be physically strong, but mentally she is a mess. Her paranoia is palpable. It overwhelms her and affects how she lives her life. Multi-faceted and flawed, Alice is a complicated personality who maintained my focus and holds her own in the story. She managed to gain my sympathy as well as my admiration, carrying her scars both inside and out.

All of Wilson's characters are rendered with lovingly exquisite detail and he is somehow able to do this with very few words. There is an intensity in his descriptions - from the interactions Alice has with her mother and brother to the customers in her shop.

The tension builds quickly and you know something very bad is coming just around the corner. Wilson's writing conveys a brooding sense of fear that is unrelenting. He convincingly unleashes a terrifyingly real creation into his fictional world. Dark and chilling, Mister Tender's Girl fully lived up to my expectations. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Sourcebooks for the advanced eBook copy to review.

From the publisher:
How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender?

At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn't exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, nothing more.

Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but he is never far behind.

Addictive and chillingly surprising, this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller will have you transfixed until the very last page.


  1. Creepy AND good! Thank you for this insightful look at this book. I've heard of it, but until reading your review, wasn't sure about it. The story doesn't appear formulaic, a fresh story for sure!

    1. It was so good and I loved the strong female lead.