The Lost by Mari Hannah

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Today’s review is of the second crime book I have read this month, and it was another book included in May’s crime and mystery box from My Chronicle Book Box. Mari Hannah was a writer whose name I was familiar with, a multi award winning author who has written multiple crime series. And The Lost is the first novel in a new series, so a good starting point for me having not read her previous work.

In this story, we are introduced to a new detective pairing in the form of Northumbria CID officers David Stone and Frankie Oliver. Stone has returned to Northumbria after many years working for the Met, during which we learn that something occurred whilst in London which had a major impact on him, which he carries with him on his return to the North. Oliver is the third generation in a family who are well respected in the force, meaning she has a lot to prove. As with Stone, she has something on her mind, secrets she is holding back. And we see the two begin to learn more about themselves, and each other, as they embark on their first case together. The case concerns the disappearance of a ten-year-old boy, whose mother discovered him to be missing on her return from holiday. But what starts out as a routine missing persons inquiry, escalates into something even more sinister. Oliver and Stone realise that there is more to this case than meets the eye, and that the family of the missing boy have something to hide. I was quickly gripped by this story, and keen to get to the bottom of the case as the events unfold, and the complexity of the case, and the extent of the betrayal is brought to light.

I was interested to read that Mari Hannah was a former probation officer, and her experience is certainly evident throughout this novel. The characters have an authentic voice and the police procedural elements were detailed and made the plot and characters feel very real. The plot itself was a gripping one, in which there is a complex web of betrayal, and secrets and lies, with multiple layers to uncover. I thought that the plot was perfectly paced, with a gradual reveal of details which make the reader question who can be trusted, and who has something to hide. There were also a few twists and turns along the way, with the case developing in surprising ways with numerous suspects which kept me guessing until the end. As well as its intriguing plot, I also enjoyed the character development in this novel. Oliver and Stone were fascinating, well rounded characters both of whom have interesting back stories, something which I would be interested to see develop further later in the series. And their stories had me hooked until the final page, as these two detectives uncover the truth behind a sinister crime, as well as uncovering more about each other.

I really enjoyed reading The Lost, the first of Mari Hannah’s books I have read but not likely to be the last! With its fascinating characters and well written plot The Lost had me gripped, and I am interested to find out more about these characters when the next book in the series, The Insider, is published later this year!

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