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Friday, March 24, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Lost Children by Helen Phifer

The Lost Children by Helen Phifer
Publishing 3/24/17

Bookouture does it again and again and again and AGAIN!  A fabulous debut series thriller - children + asylums = automatic creep factor.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney... 

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs. 

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose? 

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

Jessica's Thoughts:
4.5 / 5 Stars

I give this 4.5 stars! I loved this book! I seriously have never been let down by Bookouture. How they keep publishing amazing thrillers, I'll never know, and I'll keep reading them! The Lost Children was definitely twisted, creepy, and I loved everything about it. I love the whole asylum element to the story. You know some creepy stuff is going to happen when children and an asylum are involved!

For decades, the Moore Asylum was the home for unwanted and forgotten children. However, after a scandal, they were forced to close it's doors. Now, the abandoned building comes back to life after an elderly man is found dead, and strapped to an old gurney. Enter Detective Lucy Harwin, she is brought onto the case with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, and
they soon find themselves on the trail of a killer that is trying to correct all of the asylum's wrongdoings. As she unearths the long buried secrets of Moore Asylum the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is now forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. Can the detectives stop a killer who seems to have nothing to lose?

It was a quick read and I could not put it down! I loved all the elements and it moved quickly. I highly recommend this to any thriller lover, or a lover of Bookouture. You will not be disappointed. 

Follow Jessica on Goodreads or Instagram

Sam's Thoughts:
3.5 / 5 Stars

The Lost Children, by Helen Phifer, is the first novel in a brand new crime thriller series that will follow Detective Lucy Harwin. 

Although I’ve been struggling with police procedural type novels lately, this one was exciting to me for several reasons.  To start, when Bookouture publishes a book, I fall in line.   They really are a stellar publisher and I have enjoyed everything I have read by their company.  Helen Phifer had also been on my radar for quite some time after I saw a glowing review for her book, The Good Sisters.   I was glad to read a novel published by an author I had heard so many things about.  Finally, I was filled with relief when I found out that this novel was the first in the Detective Lucy Harwin series.  I can never fully connect with a protagonist until I have read the entire series, and unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to do that.    So this one was high up on my priority list.  It did not disappoint.

The Lost Children had me entertained and on edge.  Following a similar formula to the police procedural genre, the novel opens and introduces Detective Lucy Harwin.   Coming back from a leave, she is quick to jump in and prove herself.  Her “sidekick”, Mattie harbours some serious feelings for her (and I’m thinking this will prove to be some sort story arc eventually).   A body has been found in an abandoned children’s asylum and it’s up to Lucy to find the perpetrator. 

The narrative style of this one was unique, instead of a back and forth type of narration between the present and the past, Phifer would reveal a tidbit during the investigation in the present and then the novel would flash back to the time of the asylum and tell the story.  This was so clever and really held my interest, especially since this didn’t happen every chapter.   Phifer is clearly a phenomenal author and I will absolutely go and read more of her work.

However, there were a few moments that I didn’t love about this novel.  For one, there were a couple instances where the POV would abruptly shift to another character without much warning or a page break; mind you, this could be an issue with my Kindle edition but I felt it to be very distracting.  I also felt as if the ending was rather abrupt.  I was right in the middle of the action and then all of a sudden it was over and all wrapped up neatly. 

Regardless, of my small critiques, this one was absolutely entertaining and I will be anxiously awaiting the next in the series.   I gave it a 3.5/5 stars.

Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!

My Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

Creepy kids? Check. Asylum? Check. Converse wearing DI? Check. Character named Stephen King? Check! What's not to love? Bookouture is impressive in their thriller choices. 

Lucy, coming back after taking some time off from a previous case that rocked her emotionally, is thrown in rapidly with a murder at The Moore Asylum. This abandoned building used to house children back in the 70's who were thrown in for little to no reason by their parents and lobotomies were the new way to be cured. With the increase in body count, Detective Lucy works with her partner, Detective Mattie, to look into the asylum's past. Can Lucy find and stop the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, including herself and her family?

We see through the eyes of Lucy for most of the book with various peeks into the mind of the antagonist, jumping to the past every once in a while to give you a good sense of what horrors happened inside the asylum. The banter between Lucy and Mattie is cute and fun and I wish their friendship had been a little more fleshed out but as the first book in a series, a base was definitely made to see some growth over the course of the next few books, I'm sure. This was a fairly quick read, entertaining from the prologue to the end. While sometimes predictable, fans of thrillers will be very happy with this story. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out and will continue to follow Detective Lucy around on her adventures. Wanna join me?

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