Killer Review: The Lost by Claire McGowan

First Line: ‘Imagine all of you went missing.’

Blurb:  Not 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 is the first in the Paula Maguire series which introduces Forensic Psychologist Paula Maguire. Paula is a strong, independent single woman who has a disregard for the rules and has been living and working in London for many years. When her father breaks his leg she decides to accept an offer to be a consultant as part of a cross border unit, looking into the case of two missing teenage girls which forces her to return to her hometown of Ballyterrin –  a small town on the Northern/Southern Irish border. But as she digs deeper into the case she realises this case isn’t as clear-cut as it seems and is forced to confront her own secrets long buried.


I loved the character of the main protagonist Paula whose impulsive nature gets her into trouble and has conflict with quite a few of the other characters including Guy (Paula’s boss and love interest) and Aidan (Paula’s childhood boyfriend who runs the local newspaper). I especially loved the dynamic relationships between all of these three characters adding another dimension to the story which made me want to find out what will happen next as well as trying to guess what had happened to the teenage girls.

The novel is set against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland which explores the history of the Troubles and the devastating affect it is still having on the lives of people in the present day. There is also a theme of secrets and lies which adds a dark and eerie atmosphere to the story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is a great multi-layered story where the author manages to weave a number of sub plots without them overshadowing the main narrative. I thought the fictional setting of Ballyterrin felt very real for me as well as all of its inhabitants which made me feel like I was right there as the action unfolded.

This story is full of pace which featured a number of twists and turns keeping me guessing until the very end. I loved the authors writing style – before I knew it I was at the end.

I would highly recommend this novel which is a compelling and engaging read packed full of pace, suspense and great characterisation.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Claire McGowan follow her on Twitter @inkstainsclaire or visit her website here


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