Book Review

Book Review: The Lost by Claire McGowan

Today I’m welcoming my Dad back for another guest review.

TheLostNot everyone who’s missing is lost…
When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker.

Not everyone who’s lost wants to be found…
Surrounded by people and places she tried to forget, Paula digs into the cases as the truth twists further away. What’s the link with two other disappearances from 1985? And why does everything lead back to the town’s dark past- including the reasons her own mother went missing years before?

Nothing is what it seems…
As the shocking truth is revealed, Paula learns that sometimes, it’s better not to find what you’ve lost.

This was the latest book to come from the pile I have available to read and another new author.

I was immediately interested when I found that the lead character was not the usual male detective inspector with a passion for Fast Cars/Vintage Cars/Playing Rock Guitar/Part time magician (delete as appropriate) and was in fact a female forensic psychologist. I know it tells you this on the back cover, but I generally don’t pay attention to the cover synopsis and nor do I read through the credits which try and persuade you how good the book is before you make up your own mind.

So back to the story, it is based in Ireland and features a Daughter / Father sub-theme which was curiously similar to the last book I reviewed, Black Irish set in offshore Ireland. It also featured the main character returning to their roots which again parallels the last book and an underlying mystery of a mother who has been missing for many years.

The story this time round involved a number of themes which have affected British and Irish communities in the real life past; the problem of teen pregnancy, the influence of cult organisations from across the pond, and a few nods to the conflicts which have beset both north and south. All of this supported the main storyline of teenage girls going missing over a wide timespan.

The writing style was straightforward and the plot lines easy to follow. The early suggestion of the end result was cleverly combined with a constant doubt that the outcome would be as expected. This was supported with twists and turns along the way which suggested other possible scenarios, but I won’t spoil the end here. It involved the usual tangle of characters that all seem to obey the rule of six degrees of separation which is a regular device in this type of thriller.

In summary, the book was a good read, with interesting sub plots, the usual amount of tension, violence and love interest/disinterest, and just enough characters to support the story without causing me to constantly go back and remember who was who.

As I said, this was another new author for me and one that I would seek out again having read this book.

The Lost is published by Headline. Whilst he was provided with a copy of the book for review all opinions expressed are my Dad’s.

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