Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Lost - Claire McGowan

This novel is the first in what will be a series featuring forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. Paula has been living in London for over ten years, having left behind her life in Ballyterrin, Northern Ireland, wanting to escape the people and places that remind of her of sad times in the past. However she is unwillingly drawn back by a case involving two missing girls close to the Irish border, tasked with looking at potential links between these girls and the many missing girls from the past whose cases remain unsolved, their disappearances still a mystery.

I loved this novel and found it hard to put down. The pace is quick throughout; it's an exciting, enthralling and tense read with a well-balanced mix of psychological insight, action and investigation. Claire McGowan has depicted a setting tingling with nerves, a town with a dark and secretive atmosphere where everyone seems to be hiding something but nobody is willing to come forward and reveal what they know, making it a difficult job for Paula, seconded Met detective Guy Brooking and the rest of the team, as they try to prise open the tightly closed secrets of this community. 

The characters are engaging and author has done a skillful job weaving together a compelling storyline with links between the present and the past, incorporating aspects of recent history and dealing with politics and religion well; no mean feat. I was gripped, eager to read on and discover the whereabouts of the missing girls, to find out more about why they had gone, and why some who are lost might indeed not want to be found; the theme of the missing is a fascinating and tragic one.

Paula is a great lead character; I was rooting for her throughout as she often has to fight to be taken seriously amongst her new colleagues; she does what she believes is right but this antagonises others at times. Having been away so long, it's a great shock for her to be plunged back in to life in her old hometown, and dealing with those she left behind so suddenly is by no means easy. I found her believable and well rounded, and there is so much more that I'd like to know about her; the sadness that haunts her troubled past, the mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance, the future of the investigation team, her relationship with Aidan. This bodes well for future books in the series; I'm eager to read the next one already.

Published by Headline

Reviewed for We Love This Book

Thanks to We Love This Book and the publisher for providing a proof copy of this novel to read and review. 


  1. Sounds good, exactly something I'd enjoy x

    1. Thanks for commenting Lisa. I think a lot of readers will enjoy this one, so many aspects to it.

  2. Oh I love novels featuring forensic psychologists. A book I'm pretty sure I'd love, despite my promise to myself not to begin any more stories that form a series i'm tempted by this.

    Do you like Kathy Reichs? I can highly recommend her books.

    1. Thanks for commenting Tracy. At least this is the start of the series so you could try and keep up with it, I am going to try. There are so many series I want to read but I'm daunted by there being so many books already.
      I've never tried Kathy Reichs, thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I just LOVE that cover Lins. Fab review (as always) x


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