Two girls go missing. Only one will return.
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.
When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.
And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.
Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…
Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?.
In Lost Girls, D.I.Stone takes on a double kidnapping of 2 young girls, knowing that a similar case, where she was not involved, led to a disastrous outcome. Charlie Timmins and Amy Hanson had been swimming and were snatched from the leisure centre before they got home. Charlie’s mother, Karen Timmins, knew Kim from childhood when both were in the care system, and is determined that Kim is the only one she will trust to lead the investigation.
Two families, close friends, end up pitted against each other by the kidnappers whose sadistic text message offers the chance of saving the girl whose family will bid the highest amount to do so.
These are brutal killers and the families are tortured by the loss of their girls and by their fear over what the outcome will be. It is not long before the tensions start to bite and they are all at each other’s throats.
D.I. Stone and her team move in with the families and begin working round the clock in an atmosphere that feels quite claustrophobic and very tense – something Marsons conveys really well.
Stone is completely driven and throws everything she has into trying to find the girls together with her sidekick, Bryant who knows her very well and understands what drives her. Hostage negotiator, Matt Ward, starts as a big thorn in her side but proves to be quite an interesting character and I’m hoping he may reappear in subsequent books.
Tough, single-minded and ruthless, Stone is hardest on herself, but thinks nothing of threatening the local crime reporter, Tracey Frost when it seems she is getting in the way.
As Stone gets closer to the kidnappers there are twists and turns in the plot that add to the suspense and keep the reader guessing.
This is a well plotted book with strong characterisation, dramatic tension and some excellent villains.The ending was slightly weaker than I had expected, but nevertheless I think this is a really good read and I enjoyed it.
I had not read either of the first two D.I. Kim Stone books, but on the strength of this one I will now go back and do so.
Lost Girls is published in paperback by Bookouture on November 6 2015