Angela Marsons’ thriller Lost Girls is a claustrophobic, gritty page-turner where strong characters are faced with a horrific ultimatum.
How things have changed since I began to read mystery stories! Aged 11 I found on my grandfather’s bookshelf Sir Arthur Conan–Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I have been an addict of detective stories ever since. Favourite authors (Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and Georges Simenon) I read over and over again. How different it is today. There could be 100 authors for every one writing then and while not all are in the class of those giants many are seriously good. Moreover a fan can build their own library cheaply on a Kindle tablet or its many competitors. That’s how I discovered a new author: Angela Marsons. She sets her stories in the Black Country of the English Midlands, an appropriately gritty background. Two friends, girls aged nine, are abducted from a leisure centre. The parent scheduled to pick them up had found her car mysteriously disabled, a sinister efficiency not lost on the police. Their distraught parents, apparently affluent, are ripe for ransom demands. These are oddly slow in coming although there are disquieting messages, one containing the ominous phrase ‘tomorrow the game begins’. By that time both sets of parents are together in the isolated rural home of one of them. Fortunately that home is large, as it houses, beside the parents and a police guard, the ‘incident room’ for the investigation; Detective–Inspector Kim Stone with her team; Alison, a profiler; Helen the police–appointed family liaison officer; and Matt, a dour but interesting professional negotiator. Mercifully Stone’s team go home to sleep but they are there from six in the morning. The claustrophobic atmosphere is enhanced by the total blackout on news. Police not involved in the investigation are as unaware of the kidnapping as the press and public Stone knows that 13 months earlier a similar crime went unsolved with one girl released, the other presumed dead. At last the ransom message arrives. Only the parents who offer the biggest reward will get their child back. The instant destruction of the united front of the parents is movingly conveyed. Inspector Kim Stone has already attracted a million readers to this series. Strong willed, suffering fools not at all, with no real friends, Kim is a loner’s loner who paradoxically has won the total loyalty of her investigating team. Her furious determination to rescue the lost girls from their appalling captors gives the story an unbreakable grip. I am hurrying to read her previous two novels and so, I expect, will you! Author: Angela Marsons Publisher: Bookouture