Source: Review copy
Publication: 25 November 2021 from Trapeze
My thanks to Trapeze for an early copy for review
It’s not the missing who are in danger, but those left behind.
A MISSING CHILD
Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.
A GRUESOME DISCOVERY
A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.
A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…
The Lost is the first book in a new series from Simon Beckett. Beckett is a new author to me so I was intrigued to find out more about this new series and protagonist. DS Jonah Colley is a firearms officer with The Met’s SCO19 division. He is a man burdened with overwhelming grief and regret. Ten years previously his 4 year old son Theo was lost, presumed drowned, after he wandered away in the park while Jonah, in charge of his son, nodded off.
Blaming himself and letting his wife Chrissie blame him, his marriage broke down and later he fell out irretrievably with his best friend, DS Gavin McKinney.
The start of Simon Beckett’s novel is both harrowing and emotional, but it also paves the way for an intertwined mystery and one that I can already see is going to lead the way for future books. Easy to get into, it captured my interest straight away and made for an easy, gripping and fast-paced read.
Colley is now a bit of a sad loner, living in a bed sit with no real life of his own. He’s having a few drinks with his unit one night when he gets a call from his erstwhile friend, McKinney who tells him he urgently needs his help. Colley is in two minds about responding. He hasn’t spoken to McKinney in years; their parting was, to say the least, acrimonious. But they had been good friends and something about McKinney’s urgent plea makes him feel that he has to go.
So he hops into his car and heads for Slaughterhouse Quay where a scene of carnage awaits him. What follows is a tense and dark story that turns Colley from cop into both a victim and a suspect and it is only by pursuing the case on his own that he can get to the truth.
Beckett dangles juicy plums in front of the reader as he raises levels of suspicion and cleverly plays on Colley’s – and by extension the reader’s – interest in both the fate of his long gone son and the other bodies that are found at the aptly named Slaughterhouse Quay.
There’s plenty of atmosphere and the plot, while sometimes convoluted, is well–layered. The middle could have used a tighter edit, but that doesn’t really detract from a good story and a terrific protagonist. I’m curious about one shadowy character and I wonder if we’ll see more of that person in future books in this series? I do hope so – because I will keep reading.
Verdict: The Lost is a twisted story with many deceptions and misdirection, though a plot device is so good it is used twice; but it nonetheless captured my interest and grasped it tight. Lots of misdirection, plenty of action and a bucketful of tension keep the adrenalin levels high and the emotional quotient goes through the roof at points. Simon Beckett is a natural storyteller. A series and a protagonist to watch out for!
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Simon taught English as a foreign language in Spain, installed cavity wall installation and played in various unsuccessful bands before becoming a freelance journalist and author.In 2002, a commission to write a feature on highly realistic crime scene training for US police officers led him to the Body Farm in Tennessee. This provided an eye-opening glimpse into the work of forensic anthropologists and formed the inspiration behind his internationally bestselling David Hunter crime thrillers. The series has been translated into 29 languages. Simon’s novels have appeared in The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller list and become No.1 international bestsellers, selling 12 million copies worldwide. As well as the David Hunter series, he is the author of five standalone thrillers: Fine Lines, Animals, Where There’s Smoke, Owning Jacob and most recently The Lost. The first in the Jonah Colley series, The Lost spent 5 weeks at No. 1 in Germany’s Der Spiegel hardback fiction charts before its UK publication.