SAVAGE TO SAVVY by KATE RIGBY #Psychological thriller #savagetosavvy #book review #bookconnector



Psychology graduate, Heidi Harper is appointed to work with Albanian-born Professor Mala, pioneer of a new project to rehabilitate dog-reared feral child, Nicki. The Professor’s son, Rudi, is Project Manager of the Laurels where Nicki and other children with ‘multiple deficits’ reside.

Heidi is soon asking questions about Nicki’s previous feral existence. Her suspicions are further aroused at the Professor’s soirée one evening by a drunken outburst from Rob Ivory – ex employee of the Professor who claims he sabotaged the experiment and taught Nicki language. On the same evening, she also discovers some disused laboratories behind the Professor’s house. Heidi goes digging further, and finds Nicki was part of a Forbidden Experiment. Heidi’s mission soon takes on sinister overtones and as the truth outs, the lives of all concerned begin to unravel.

Savage To Savvy is a psychological thriller following the structure of an academic paper: Abstract, Introduction, Method & Results, Discussion, Conclusions.



This is a belting little psychological thriller that has far more to it than you first think it will have. When the chance of a life time opportunity comes up for Heidi Harper, a newly qualified psychology graduate, she grabs it with both hands and bags of enthusiasm. I mean who wouldn’t? There she is, a student that only just scrapped through university, being offered a research assistant position by Professor Mala, to work with a feral child that has been brought up by wild dogs. I mean wow!  The Development Institute is at a place called The Laurels, where there are some other children too. All have suffered severe neglect in early childhood, within a family setting but none are as feral as the dog girl.

This wild child has been given the name Nicki and learns pretty rapidly through a means of reward and punishments. I was fascinated with her way of thinking and how she weighed situations up. Rudi, Professor Mala’s son, is Project Manager and works with Heidi where more close relationship builds between them. Heidi is literally like a sponge wanting to know more and more about Nicki before she came to the institute but people are very evasive. Heidi sets herself a mission to find out why especially following an incident with a former employee.

I must admit that I loved psychology when I was at college and I had a fascination with stories and research about feral children and how they could fit into society, so I loved this book. Kate Rigby has created characters that have the realism about them and she took me into the minds of them all. It was quite sad at times to be in the mind of Nicki that clearly missed the only family she had ever known, the dogs that brought her up as part of the pack.

My favourite character though has to be Heidi, never under estimate enthusiasm. This is a super thriller that lets you get to know the characters and some of their backgrounds before it starts to reveal its shocking and disturbing secrets. I was just simply wowed. This is quite a heart breaking story that you want be able to stop reading till the end. Brilliant.



I’ve been writing for nearly forty years. Good gracious, that long? I realized my unhip credentials were mounting so decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and is now updated and republished.

However I’m not totally unhip. My punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). It’s now been re-kindled.

I received a Southern Arts bursary for my novel Where A Shadow Played (now Did You Whisper Back?)

Skrev Press published my novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka! (2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s avant garde magazine Texts’ Bones including a version of my satirical novella Lost The Plot.

Thalidomide Kid was first published by Bewrite Books (2007)



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