I had never heard of Brian McGilloway until I received this book. 'Little Girl Lost' is a standalone police procedural set in Northern Ireland, and to be honest I have usually shied away from reading books with an Irish theme. In fact the only ones I have read previously have been those of Maeve Binchy. I found the storyline captivating, engaging, fast moving and once I started reading I found it difficult to put the book down. For me all the characters were believable. Why was the little girl found wandering in a wood only clad in her nightclothes and with her hands stained with blood? Why is she too traumatised to speak? Where has she come from? What secrets does little girl lost hold? When the police find little girl lost, they are in fact hunting for another missing girl. As the story unfolds other characters emerge including a old man with dementia who may or may not have a guilty secret, and a woman fallen on hard times through alcohol abuse. There are a few unpleasant surprises and a sting in the tail. To say more would spoil the story, but suffice to say that having read this offering I can't wait to read Brian McGilloway's Inspector Devlin stories. All in all a great read and one I would recommend to anyone who likes a good crime story.
Brian McGilloway is a new name to me but I found this police procedural novel to be very readable and enjoyable (although at times it is quite distressing) and I'll certainly look out for more books by this author. DS Lucy Black is a very believable and sympathetic main character and one can't help wondering if this will be the first of a series featuring her. 'Little lost girl' has a number of intriguing, interlocking plots involving abduction and shady business deals, all with a background of the "Troubles" - that lovely whimsical Irish word to describe the bloody civil war in Northern Ireland. There was also the seemingly gratutious inclusion of a thread concerning neglected children, which was really heartrending.
This is an intelligently written book, with short chapters making it easy to pick up when you have a few minutes spare. The story is quite enjoyable and has enough twists and turns, if only minor, to keep you wondering where it's going. Unexpectedly it also gave me an insight into the troubles of Northern Ireland from a perspective I had not come across before. I also liked the fact that everything was tied up nicely. So, although not ground breaking, I would happily recommend it.
I'd never heard of Brian McGilloway before picking up this book, even though this is his 5th novel, doing a little bit of investigation it would appear that a number of the previous novels have been nominated for awards, always a good chance that this was going to be worth reading then!
This book had me hooked right from the start, it has short chapters wich I have found help to keep the pack moving along quickly but even without these the story had drawn me in and made me want to keep reading.
I found the timing of my reading this book quite ironic. It highlights the treatment of catholic police offices during the troubles but the shows how much safer it is for them in Northern Ireland now - I was reading this as the news was showing a car bomb that killed a catholic police officer.
I thought this book was a brilliant read, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next and how all the various threads actually hung together, I also like the fact that every time you thought they'd made a breakthrough it seemed to lead to a dead end and there was more investigation needed. There was a twist, which I could see being built up to for some time but there were other ones which I didn't see coming at all.
Being a crime thriller you expect there to be violence and deaths, in books like this they don't usually bother me but I have to admit that I found one so shocking it had me in tears.
I feel I've gushed quite a lot in this review but I honestly thought the book was that good! I'll definitely be buying the other books that McGilloway has released
I enjoyed reading this book and would like to read other books by Brian McGilloway. The plot moved along well with some interesting twists and turns and the irish setting brought a further depth to the story. The book starts with a little girl found in the woods and once you have started reading you want to find out what has happened to her. The storyline is quite grim in places but not graphic and there are some interesting and believable characters. The main character of DS Lucy Black is a policewoman trying to do her best at her job whilst also dealing with a difficult family situation, I felt the balance between details of her life and the plot worked well together and the integration added an extra dimension to the story. I felt that her father was a well written character and accurately reflected the sad decline of someone with alzheimers and the difficulties of relationships with them. The mother seemed a less believable character but, as more details about the family's background was revealed, I began to find her relationship with Lucy more convincing. This is a good book, it doesn't move along quite as quickly as a James Patterson but there is more background detail to the plot and I think this adds extra to the story. I think that this could easily evolve into a series of books and it would be good to see how the characters developed.
on 20 February 2013
I would like to have given this book a four maybe even a five, but one thing stops me. I found it most annoying that the author presumed the reader would know what all the abbreviations stood for. I didn't, and it kind of left out what part of the story was. If I had been at home I would have googled them, but I wasn't I was on a weekend away with no internet, so it meant I didn't know what the author was talking about. Which annoyed me... also in places he over did the descriptions.
In snow-bound Londonderry, the police are searching for Kate, the missing teenage daughter of a local magnate. DS Lucy Black finds a girl in the woods near her home, but it is not Kate but "Alice", a younger girl, traumatised and speechless.
Will Lucy find Kate? Will she find out who "Alice" is, and why no-one has reported her disappearance? On a personal level, will there be any change to Lucy's relationship with her long-divorced parents - her father, who is slipping into the twilight world of Alzheimer's, and her cold, workaholic mother? As the story progresses, the dark skeletons in the closets of Kate's family and of other people gradually come to light.
This fast-moving, gripping story is set against the background of a Northern Ireland now at peace, but with people still bearing the scars - in some cases, literally - of the "Troubles". (When Lucy's mother tries to persuade her "the past is the past", Lucy snaps back "it's still infecting the present.") McGilloway, an Ulsterman born and bred, enriches the narrative with a wealth of local detail.
Like much good modern crime fiction, this novel is as much about the psyche of the detective as about the crime or the criminals. McGilloway uses the action to draw out a sympathetic, detailed portrayal of the complex relationship between Lucy and her father. The story has some possible shortcomings:
-Lucy's mother is insufficiently depicted, appearing rather two-dimensional; however, you could justify this on the grounds that the story is told from Lucy's viewpoint, and (as it was her father she stayed with after the divorce) she has limited empathy with her mother and knows little about her.
-Transferred very early in the story from CID to child protection, Lucy seems to fail in distancing herself from her clients, which earns her frequent reproof from her bosses; but in this she is no different from many modern TV detectives!
An absorbing page-turner, but written in a much better style than many million-selling page-turners I could name.
This must surely be adapted for TV before too long.
If you are one of the legions of crime fans suffering from post Danish TV hit series `The Killing' blues - then Brain McGilloway has created another female detective to almost rival Sarah Lund in his new book `Little Girl Lost'. McGilloway writes crime fiction set in his native Northern Ireland, and has completed four books about Inspector Devlin, before breaking away to give us a new novel about DS Lucy Black. What I like about his books is that he fuses place and plot in a fast paced and fascinating way, so that his stories are rooted in the historical and political context of Northern Ireland and its Troubles, whilst also being damn fine crime thrillers to boot. And he does not disappoint this time.
`Little Girl Lost' fuses several different plot lines cleverly into one, and explores the background of his tough young detective, who wants to stand or fall on her own merits without reference to her successful mother Assistant Chief Constable. This independent streak has developed partially as a result of her mother's cold attitude to her in her childhood, and the fact that her father brought her up following her parents' split years before. But there is more to this tale than meets the eye. And as Lucy struggles to care for her father through his worsening dementia, very interesting character traits are revealed. Lucy has a soft side, which is put to the test when she find the young child of the title wandering in freezing woods with blood on her pyjamas that is obviously not her own. A teenage girl has also gone missing, and it is not long before Lucy finds vital clues to link the two cases.
But interwoven with the crimes, and Lucy's personal narrative is the backdrop of Derry, McGilloway's home city. He cleverly weaves in the complex politics of Northern Ireland's troubled past, including bombings, tarring of suspected police informers, and a corrupt police force besides. But he does it in a way that is not forced or preaching, just very compelling. But above all his books are fine crime novels, written in a way that keeps you engaged for just one more chapter, and then just one more, as all the best crime writers do. Check him out before everyone else discovers him.
This book is an example of a good Police Procedural Crime book. The story starts at a pace and this continues right until the last page, in part because of the chapters are short which tends to make me read more in a sitting, as I always want to read one more.
The book starts with the lost girl Kate McLaughlin, who is the daughter of a prominant local business man, but it's not long before we meet another young girl walking out of the woods on a snowy night in her pyjamas. DS Lucy Black has returned to Derry where she lived as a child to look after her father and finds the young girl and gets assigned to the case.
The two girl's stories run alongside one another with Lucy becoming attached to the youngster she found, whilst still trying to locate the missing Kate.
There is a wealth of characters who are well rounded but be warned this book covers some difficult subjects especially those linked to the past. I did suspect at least some of the ending quite early on but not all of it, anyway, I like reading just to find out if I'm right.
I haven't read any of Brian McGalloway's other books but as this one has made a good impression I will definitely order a copy of Borderlands (Inspector Devlin Mystery 1)
This isn't a cheery book - it's cold, icy, and gloomy; there are dysfunctional families and damaged children of all ages; there are sectarian tensions; there are sexual tensions, in that there's a thread of unease that runs through most of our heroine's interactions with male colleagues; there are betrayals past and present - by parents, spouses, partners, lovers, informants; there's violence; there's illness and death, grief and hurt.
So not a barrel of laughs - and in reality of course, it wouldn't be, not with what's going / gone on. But as a reader I don't want unremitting reality. I want a little lightening of the tone every now and then to relieve the gloom - and while there was some nice development of new friendships here, they never escaped from the underlying mystery.
So - in conclusion, this is a rattling read. I don't think I spotted who the baddie was before the end, but wasn't surprised when they were revealed. I liked the end in relation to Lucy's parents, and really didn't like the end in relation to Mary - that was over-egging things I thought. I agree with another reviewer who says Lucy is an interesting character who could carry another book or two - and hey - she smiles in the last line!