REVIEW – The Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

9 year old Amy and Charlie are best friends, inseparable, their parents as close as you could get, living perfect suburban lives. Until one day they’re not.

Falling prey to a sinister group of kidnappers, all with their motives for doing so different. Will, the cool, calm collected one with his motives in his pocket – Symes, the cold-hearted military man, sadistic in the gaining of his pleasures. And a third, who I won’t reveal for the sake of the ending and spoilers – but I certainly didn’t see that coming.

And that, for me, is the eternal mark of a good crime novel. I’ve read so many over the years, and all too often I’ve spotted the betrayer, the mystery bad guy at the heart of the case. This time I was surprised, and that was enough for me to go – oh yes, this has certainly hit the spot.

The novel part of this book was how the parents were played off against each other, competing financially and psychologically. It broke down the parents’ relationships with each other and had them at each other’s throats, and it does go to show how everything else can go out of the window when your kids are involved.

There were twists and turns with the earlier kidnap of Emily and Suzie that added a wonderful dimension and sense of urgency, because you could see the effect on their parents, the paranoia of Emily’s mother and the depression of Suzie’s. Intertwining the past case that had gone half right and half wrong with the very real threat towards Amy and Charlie was a crowning glory of this novel.

The characters Marsons has created are ones we can all relate to – the woman who put her career on hold for her husbands’ career, always assuming it would come off the back-burner at some point, the woman avoiding her past mistakes only to have them come to light in the most tragic of ways, kids off to bad starts and parents doing just about anything for them.

Kim as the lead detective still had that familiar loveable rogue lone ranger kind of vibe, misunderstood by the system and resistant to authority, but like all good fictional detectives, she gets the commendations in to justify her actions, and she gets the job done.

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