Source: Review copy
Publication : 22 March from Orion
‘He was her child. The only one she’d ever have. It would kill her to learn that he was missing.’
Alex arrives home from holiday to find that her ten-year-old son Daniel has disappeared.
It’s the first case together for Northumbria CID officers David Stone and Frankie Oliver.
Stone has returned to his roots with fifteen years’ experience in the Met, whereas Oliver is local, a third generation copper with a lot to prove, and a secret that’s holding her back.
But as the investigation unfolds, they realise the family’s betrayal goes deeper than anyone suspected. This isn’t just a missing persons case. Stone and Oliver are hunting a killer.
You know you are in safe and assured hands with a Mari Hannah police procedural. She understands cops better than most and it shines through in her writing.
The Lost is the start of a new series of Oliver and Stone books. D.S. Frankie Oliver is a third generation cop; there has been a Frank Oliver in the force since 1966. Now Frankie has been partnered with D.I. Stone, recently returned home to Northumberland from the Met. Stone has taken a demotion to come home, and it is clear that he is running from something, but what?
Frankie and Stone are establishing a good working relationship. They gel; share a sense of humour and when they fight its worth watching.
So when Alex returns home from a Majorcan holiday spent with her sister, Kat, to find that her son Daniel Scott is missing she is distraught. Daniel has been reported missing by his stepfather, Tim Parker. Frankie Oliver convinces Stone that this has to be treated more urgently than a missing person; there’s something about her instinct and cop’s intuition that makes her sure that this is more than a lad gone astray for a few hours. So they set all the steps in motion and after speaking to and the au pair Justine, Stone goes to meet Alex at the airport.
But when Stone sees Alex he is instantly reminded of someone he used to know, and he can’t bring himself to tell her or interview her properly and Frankie has to step in and cover for him.
Then as a dead body turns up and the pressure increases on the police force Hannah brings home the impact of police cuts on rural communities in writing that reflects the realities of life in small communities where you’d be hard pressed ever to see a policeman.
As Stone and Oliver painstakingly pull the facts together, uncovering secrets and pinning down the lies that they have been told, they get closer to the truth, until one of their lives is in real danger. And to add to the stress, one of them will suffer a tragic loss that will impact on the rest of their life.
The story unfolds with good pace,lots of twists and turns and plenty to keep you guessing, but the foundation is built on solid police work. As the case reaches its climax both Stone and Oliver have been tested and it is clear that Oliver is not the only one of the pair with secrets; Frankie carries her own demons. We still have a lot to learn about this pair.
I really enjoyed this first class police procedural and look forward to the next outing of Stone and Oliver.
About Mari Hannah
Multi-award winning Mari Hannah is the author of the Kate Daniels series of police procedurals, the Ryan and O’Neil crime series and the Stone and Oliver series. She lives in a small Northumberland village with her partner, a former murder detective.
Her career as a Probation Officer was cut short following an assault on duty. It was then that the idea that she might one day become a writer began to form in her head.
She first pitched her idea for a crime series to the BBC, winning a place on their North East Voices Drama Development Scheme. When it ended, she adapted the screenplay of The Murder Wall into a book she had started years before somehow never finished.
In 2010, she won the Northern Writers’ Award for Settled Blood.
In 2013, she won the Polari First Book Prize for her debut, The Murder Wall.
In 2017, her body of work won her the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017.
The Kate Daniels series has since been optioned for TV by Sprout Pictures, a production company owned by Gina Carter and Stephen Fry.
Mari is reader-in-residence at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival.
Follow Mari on @mariwriter