Claire McGowan’s first book The Fall was highly acclaimed and it seems her second novel, ‘The Lost’ is set to follow the same route. McGowan uses her own knowledge of growing up in a small village in Northern Ireland to highlight the continuing problems that are faced there.
The Lost is the first in a new series featuring the endearing character of forensic psychologist Paula Maguire.
When Paula returns from the UK to her hometown in Northern Ireland; she has to face her own ghosts whilst on the case of two missing teenagers. She encounters much hostility from her new colleagues and finds it hard to find a sense of belonging.
The town’s dark history runs through a plot of religious tension and family skeletons; finding twists and turns and finally merging with Paula’s own story.
Paula gets together early on with her recently divorced and grieving new boss; and subsequently plays a will they won’t they game with an old flame of hers. Both men are working with her to solve the case and the relationships show Paula as a loose cannon, who acts first and thinks later; getting them into all sorts of scrapes.
What moved me most in this novel was the raw honesty of the girls interviewed by Maguire about their missing friend. The association with such young girls being abused or murdered makes for a shocking read.
Great red herringed plot, with intriguing characters who stay with you long after the finish. Well researched though sometimes repetitive; McGowan runs a gripping pace, ending with an excellent twist.
There are times when those who are lost shouldn’t be found.
Review by Carolann Copeland