The Lost (Paula Maguire #1) by Claire McGowan

Summary from Goodreads

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.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Headline (first published January 1st 2013) 
 
My Review
 
The Lost is an exciting read, a riveting read and an utterly believable read that reeled me in from it’s opening pages!
 
What I enjoyed the most was the setting, Northern Ireland – where I’m from. McGowan captures the frigid, tense and very suffocating Northern Irish atmosphere perfectly – which is actually quite a hard thing to do.
 
‘Scenery was one thing, twisted hatred another. And the past was still everywhere, creaking with spectral life.’ 
 
Main character Paula Maguire, is a forensic psychologist and she is a really down-to-earth and very likable woman.She has a great head on her shoulders, but is often impulsive – which can get her into some tricky situations.
This storyline sees Paula go back to her hometown of Ballyterrerrin in N.I. She takes a job looking into old missing persons cases. But when she arrives she is thrown into an ongoing missing teen’s case and things very quickly take a darker turn.
Paula also has her own secrets and there is a reason she left the little town all those years ago….
I read this like lightening, compelled by some unknown force to finish the book. At every turn I was surprised and completely thrilled. I loved that I could never quite work it out and just when I thought that I had, the book took a different turn…the ending was unexpected and explosive.
The Lost is a fantastic first thriller, that introduces a wonderful cast of colourful characters. It’s an intelligent read that is written to tense and very heightened perfection. McGowan forces the reader to sit up and pay attention – I know I’ll be keeping an eye on her future work.
4.5 / 5 Stars
*Special thanks to Headline for the review copy*

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