The girl is sitting upright, her dark brown hair arranged over her shoulders and her blue, blue eyes staring into the distance. She looks almost peaceful. But her gaze is vacant, and her skin is cold…
When Detective Jackie Cooke is called to the murder scene, she is shocked by what she sees. Missing teenager Chloe Smedley has finally been found – her body left in a cold back yard, carefully posed with her bright blue eyes still open. Jackie lays a protective hand on the baby in her belly, and vows to find the brutal monster who stole Chloe’s future.
When Jackie breaks the news to Chloe’s heartbroken mother, she understands the woman’s cries only too well. Her own brother went missing as a child, the case never solved. Determined to get justice for Chloe and her family, Jackie sets to work, finding footage of the girl waving at someone the day she disappeared. Did Chloe know her killer?
But then a second body is found on the side of a busy motorway, lit up by passing cars. The only link with Chloe is the disturbing way the victim has been posed, and Jackie is convinced she is searching for a dangerous predator. Someone has been hunting missing and vulnerable people for decades, and only Jackie seems to see that they were never lost. They were taken.
Jackie’s boss refuses to believe a serial killer is on the loose and threatens to take her off the case. But then Jackie returns home to find a brightly coloured bracelet on her kitchen counter and her blood turns cold. It’s the same one her brother was wearing when he vanished. Could his disappearance be connected to the murders? Jackie will stop at nothing to catch her killer… unless he finds her first…
An absolutely gripping crime thriller that will keep you racing through the pages. Fans of Kendra Elliott, Rachel McLean and Val McDermid will love The Lost Ones.
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Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.
Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she has also authored a series about Manchester’s notorious gangland as well as two books in a mini-series featuring quirky northern PI Bev Saunders.
Detective Jackson Cooke is Marnie’s latest heroine to root for, as she hunts down one of the most brutal killers the north west has ever seen at devastating personal cost.
When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting on social media trends and discussing the world of crime fiction. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Salford University’s Doctoral School and a tutor for the Faber Novel Writing Course.
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My thoughts: this was really good, I’ve read some of the author’s previous books but this really was a compelling read. I really liked the character of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Cooke, pregnant, mother of twins, wife to a rather useless man, but determined and incredibly good at her job. Her own little brother Lucian (their dad’s an artist) was abducted as a boy and the case is still open. He had Down’s Syndrome, as does the first missing child in this case. The connection means that for Jackie, this is personal.
As more remains are found, and more mothers are informed that their missing children are dead, Jackie becomes even more dedicated to solving this. Despite her boss wanting her, at 8 months pregnant, behind a desk till maternity leave.
The ending and the perpetrator is something you won’t see coming. Jackie’s personal life is on its knees, and I really didn’t pick the murderer out, like I can sometimes do, it just seemed too cruel. Brilliantly done and totally gripping.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.