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Book Name: Lost Girls

Author: Angela Marsons

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Overall Rating: (3.18/5) View all reviews (total 11 reviews)
Description

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping. And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad. Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realizes that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive are getting smaller by the hour. Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families' past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone's child pay the ultimate price?

Reviews

MYSTERIOUS AND SPOOKY! A GREAT GHOST STORY!

by Christian "Writer/Human"
(4/5)

Slip into the murky depths of a town with dark secrets. Secrets no one seems to want to talk about and secrets most would completely deny the exixtence of...that is, until two of the town's favorite daughters go missing. In the ensuing uproar over their disappearance, a battle cry erupts from one of the girls' father--a wealthy and influential member of the town. His vengeance is aimed squarely at the head of Thomas Tripp, former local English teacher and recent confidant of the two "Lost Girls".The resulting search of Tripp's apartment (and his recent past) reveal a defeated, haunted man with secrets of his own. The walls of his modest teachers apartment are heavily adorned with thousands of cut-out pictures of young girls in various stages of undress--gleaned from teen girl magazines and catalogues. Muddy clothing found in his clothes hamper, and a bloodstained rear seat in his car seem to point to his unequivocal guilt. The fact that he recently experienced a painful divorce and subsequent loss of visitation rights to his only daughter (because of very questionable behaviour) only increase the appearance of his involvment. Tripp is arrested and held in the disappearance of the two girls.Enter Bartholomew Christian Crane, a still wet-behind-the-ears young attorney from a neighboring city--and newest member of "Lie, Gettemoff, and Associates", a not-too-prestigious law firm known for defending some of the country's more despicable criminals. Crane, accompanied by the diparaging comments of the senior partners of the firm and a cocaine addiction larger than his rented Lincoln Continental, appears reluctantly in the town of Murdoch, where the story takes place. He is fully prepared to do whatever it takes to procure Tripp's freedom...even withhold evidence. What Crane doesn't realize is that he's headed directly into the nightmare of his own past--long repressed and thought forgotten. As the insidious secrets that hide in the town of Murdoch slowly seep into him, Crane begins to realize that those very secrets are his secrets as well. As he loses control of the case and his own mind, we witness the inevitable destruction of two men, a town, and the results of what secrets can do to the very fabric of life.Ghosts come in many forms. Andrew Pyper creates a disturbing, ominous, and wholly memorable ghost story in "Lost Girls". Painting this dark mystery as a bleak landscape of self-destruction and courtroom drama, he draws an eerie portrait of man's vastly troubled soul, using faulted human canvasses. His depiction of a town and its people caught in the undertow of the past is incredibly vivid and nightmarish at the same time. This is one book you won't soon forget.


Definitely not Stephen King!

by Dave Schwinghammer "Dave Schwinghammer"
(4/5)

LOST GIRLS begins with a prologue describing cousins in a canoe having sex. The canoe overturns and the girl is pulled into the depths, apparently by some monster.The next chapter is rather confusing because, suddenly, there are two girls missing and their teacher is a suspect. We are introduced to the protagonist, attorney Bartholomew Christian Crane. Crane works for Lyle, Gederov & Associate, often referred to as Lie, Get `Em Off & Associate. It will be Crane's job to defend the teacher. Graham Lyle is, according to Crane, a raving queen. Gederov is a "second-generation Russian immigrant who has somehow retained a threatening hint of his ancestor's accent." He's also, "cruel, misogynistic, racist, flatulent, and nauseating dining company." The key word here is "misogynistic." So now we have incest and misogyny and a partner who's homosexual... "Crane is sent to his home town of Murdock, Ontario. Crane's client doesn't seem to care if Crane gets him off or not. Crane doesn't care; all he wants to do is win, but as he begins to piece together a case, blaming someone else, of course, the bizarre legend of the place begins to pull him down. There's a story about the Lady of the Lake and suddenly the prologue begins to make sense.If you assume the book is going to be about how Crane gets the teacher off, you'll be wrong. Crane begins a search for the Lady of the Lake, apparently an actual person, who fits in well with the misogynistic elements at the beginning.Too much of a downer for you? Surprise, surprise. Get ready for an O'Henry twist at the end, that cloaks Crane with redemption.


Excellent surreal mystery

by Harriet Klausner
(5/5)

Barth Crane is a high powered Toronto attorney who relishes the rush he receives when he wins a case. Ethics are not a problem, as Barth will do anything to triumph, including lying under oath, cheating, and tampering with witnesses.The tightly focused lawyer travels to Murdoch, Ontario on his first murder case. Local high school teacher Thomas Tripp is accused of killing two students. Barth expects an easy victory because the bodies of the victims were never recovered nor are there any witnesses that Tripp committed a crime. Circumstantial evidence links the suspect to the murder. The barrister settles in at the local hotel and begins to immerse himself in the life of the town in an effort to gain an edge for his client. Gradually, the legend of the Lady in the Lake begins to haunt him; changing him and making him take actions that will effect Barth for the rest of his life.LOST GIRLS is an atmospheric work that seems gothic in tone. The story line gradually builds up the tension level until the reader feels, like Barth, overwhelmed and anxious. Barth is a loathsome person, yet the audience will feel drawn to him, especially as he travels down a road nobody could have foreseen he would take. Andrew Pyper's ability to bring his story to life is brilliant and will leave readers clamoring for more works as soon as possible. Don't be surprised if this book hits the charts.Harriet Klausner


Psychological thriller with a ghostly twist

by I LOVE BOOKS
(3/5)

Ashley and Krystal were best friends and one day never returned home. Both teenagers, they disappear in a small town by a lake in Ontario, Canada. One of their school teachers, Thomas Tripp, is accused of murdering them after some evidence turns up. However, no bodies are found. Defence lawyer Bartholomew Crane is summoned for the court case and reaches the small town from Toronto, assuming this to be quite a straight forward case, an easy-win. However, his client (Tripp) is very uncooperative and seemingly unstable and this, combined with an old ghost story surrounding the lake, a story known in fact by all the locals, and with his own personal problems to deal with, make him realise that the case is much more complicated than what it appeared in the beginning. The impact of what Crane learns as the days go by trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together is quite strong. He starts having nightmares and being haunted by visions.And the question keeps lingering: where are the girls? Why haven't their bodies turned up yet?In my opinion this book is well written but lacks in connection with character development, meaning that a part from Crane, who is the leading figure and is accurately described in all of his feelings and circumstances, the other characters fade into the background too lightly despite bearing relevance to the story and deserving more space. Suspense is quite high in parts, but in the long run, and because it is almost always connected with Crane, it becomes a bit... trite. While it is true that I have never liked `ghost stories' much, this is not exactly one of them, or not entirely. This fact alone may have made me depreciate the book a bit, but I still feel that a certain je-ne-se-quoi should have been added or changed to make the story more compelling. As it stands, it is a bit too implausible (and that includes its end).


Unforgettable

by Jane Austen Fan
(5/5)

I glanced through the pages of this book in a supermarket about nine years ago and instantly was hooked, had to buy it. I never do that. I never read books from the shelves of the supermarket, first of all, because, I admit it, I'm a literary snob. But this one I couldn't put down. I couldn't put it down from the moment I picked it up. I had to read it late into the wee hours of the morning, and even though I was terrified to turn every page I had to see what happened next, and got more and more terrified. I remember at one point thinking, I have to put this down and stop thinking about it, or I'll be too afraid to sleep.It meanders through the mind of a madman, and it becomes more and more obvious that the "detective" must be the killer. I love the vagueness of it, the fact that you're never quite sure. I don't mind that you are left wondering if what you think happened, is what really happened. I don't mind at all, it left me thinking, and wondering, and haunted. I loved this book, and was very sad to see that it is no longer in print.


No No No! This is not a good book!

by "moosifier"
(1/5)

But that is not to say there is nothing good about this book. The epilogue was simply brilliant and unfortunately the story line got worse from then on. I bought a book being told that I was going to be reading a courtroom thriller/drama with elements of the supernatural. To a small extent this is true, however "Lost Girls" is far more about the main character's cocaine addiction than a supernatural tale. Written in the first person but in an intensely irritating passive tense ("I walk across the street. Rain splashes on my face" and so on) "Lost Girls" actually becomes very slow reading the more you go on. Compared with the excellent epilogue this is a let down indeed.The rest of the time that Crane is not discussing whether to have "one line of snow or two", we are treated to the other characters in the book. Most are so stereotypically bland as to be of no interest at all. Thomas Tripp, the accused, is by far and away the most cardinal of character sinners as Pyper tries desperately to portray a horrific fiend of mental imbalance when the effect is somewhat nearer to a sad old man who has simply had enough. Then there is McConnell, the filibustering parent of one of the missing girls and Crane's associates, Pyper's caricatures rather than characterisation of one excessively camp, gay man and one excessively large, unpleasant and rude man. I doubt very much if Pyper has met the like of either.So in total we are talking about a book initially brilliant which overplods to a totally unsatisfactory ending which takes far, far too many pages to get to. And that does not even touch on the disappointment of the central supernatural legend that comes straight out of the "Blair Witch Project."No. My only advice is do not waste your money and your time.


A moody and deeply personal legal thriller

by Stone Junction "The Suburban Hobo"
(4/5)

I picked up a copy of Andrew Pyper's LOST GIRLS at a yard sale, for the unbelievably low price of a dollar. The book jacket was covered with praise and accolades for Pyper's tale of murder and madness in northern Ontario, and I faintly remembered there being some buzz on the literary scene following its publication a few years ago. But I have had some bad experiences with book jacket blurbs as of late, and was cautious.So, steeled against disappointment, I plunged ahead, and was fortunate to discover that my dollar had not gone to waste. LOST GIRLS is a dark and moody thriller, a compulsive page-turner of high caliber. But for a novel that presents itself as more of a John Grisham-type foray into shallowly-drawn characters and legal machinations, LOST GIRLS is almost the opposite, a heavily character-driven story that has far more to do with acceptance of one's own past actions than it does the courtroom. LOST GIRLS is less a legal suspense story than it is a ghost story, where buried secrets threaten to overcome those unable to reconcile the past and the present.LOST GIRLS follows the first murder case of Bartholomew Crane, a criminal defense attorney with few qualms about what needs to be done to successfully defend his clients. He is summoned up to the remote northern Ontario town of Murdoch, where Thom Tripp has been charged with the murder of two young girls. The drawback is, there are no bodies with which to confirm the murders, and anything that points to his client as a killer is circumstantial at best. But despite this clearly winnable situation, Crane slowly finds himself doubting his reasons for wanting to defend Tripp. Local superstition points towards the involvement of an angry spirit in the lake, and Crane begins to have sightings of things he cannot easily explain away.Pyper has set himself a daunting task to perform, and has only added to the pressure by manufacturing his antagonist as an extremely unlikable character. Crane is an impotent, cocaine-snorting mess of a man, a man not above outright lying in the pursuit of winning a case. Any moral qualms he may have about what his clients have done pales in comparison to his almost fanatical devotion to winning. But Pyper is careful not to judge his character; very often in criminal defence work, a moral qualm can only get in the way of providing the best possible defence as required by law. Pyper understands this dichotomy, and it may be one of the reasons a reader might be displeased with the novel. It is much easier to get behind a crusading warrior for good than a determined lawyer who understands that everyone is entitled to be thought innocent until proven guilty. That is the law, and the way our society functions. Pyper appreciates the stress this can put on a person, and acknowledges that sometimes the job can be arduous.Pyper's strength in creating a story comes from his refusal to take the easy way out. Instead of cheapening the plot by having a more crowd-pleasing conclusion (i.e., evil lawyer recognizes the serious vocational error he has made, and travels back from the dark side), Pyper gives us an inner journey of self-discovery. What Crane slowly evolves into has nothing to do with a laypersons one-sided view of morality and the law, and everything to do with atoning for the sins and regrets of past exploits.Pyper's addition of a ghost story to the mix is one of his only missteps. While it does much to establish an atmosphere of dread, it never seems fully resolved. Crane's frequent forays to the lakeside become increasingly bizarre, and loaded with coincidence. It serves to fuel the plot, but it's incomplete, unfocused. And Crane and Tripp's final meeting is presented in such a way as to drain any tension from the story. It's an ending, but it feels rushed. And Crane's legal superiors, Lyle and Gederov, are caricatures of the worst sort; one-dimensional criminal lawyers who represent the most basic stereotype of the immoral lawyer. They allow Crane to see what he may become, but they don't belong in the same story, and do disservice to Pyper's obvious talents.But minor quibbles aside, LOST GIRLS is a fine, unpredictable thriller. And in that small sub-genre of novels set in northern Ontario, this surely must rank as one of the best.


Not overly impressed

by T. Nociti
(2/5)

I enjoyed the creepiness of it and must admit there were times I actually felt my heart pounding a bit...and I was jumpy around the house for a little while...but it still can't be classified as "horror", it isn't really satisfying as a mystery, it's more than just a story. I guess, for me, it just left a whole lot to be desired.The main characters were very one-dimensional. In fact, ALL of the characters were one-dimensional and needed a lot of development.I can't say I'd never read another Pyper book again but I can say I'm not rushing out to see if there are any more.


I guess the best way to describe my reaction is "empty."

by TundraVision
(2/5)

I'm not sure what to make of this book. The juxtaposition of the northern Ontario locals and the "summer folk" rings true enough - but all in a vacuous, ethereal setting and tone. Is it Erle Stanley Gardner? Stephen King? Mary Higgins Clark? Dashiell Hammett? Hunter S. Thompson? It's all that and less. (I hate it when reviewers divulge plots - and I won't burden you with it here.)I'm going back to the more solid "meat and potatoes" (or is that corned beef & cabbage) of Father Greeley's Chicago.


What O'Henry ending?

by Wayne Price
(2/5)

Sorry, folks, didn't find any O"Henry ending at the close of this book. In fact, not quite sure what the ending is. I kept expecting something more. What happened to the teacher? What was the point of the final hiding the shirt near a school playground? What was the narrator's turn of events? Nice description of events in a small northern Canada town, but as for plot, very disappointing.


A Different Sort of Thriller

by Yolanda S. Bean
(3/5)

This book turned out to be not at all what I was expecting. Shelved in with the mystery/thrillers, and boasting a creepy title, it sounded like it would be an exciting, suspenseful story with a strong focus on plot. Instead, the book really focused on character redemption. The narrator was quite likable, and some of his interior monologue actually made me laugh out loud. And while Pyper created an eerie atmosphere, his over-use of nightmares to create that spooky tone became quite frustrating after a while. The role of "villain" was very loosely applied here, and none of the characters really fulfilled that part. I enjoyed Pyper's writing style, and though it did not meet my expectations, it was certainly a unique sort of novel. It started out very strongly, and unfortunately, that strength did not carry through the entire novel. It had some definite high points though, so I would not be averse to reading another one of his books, but I won't be rushing out to purchase more either.


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