Publication Date: November 2015
Format: Paperback, 440 pgs
This is the third instalment of Angela Marsons' DI Kim Stone series and although I have yet to read the first two books I'm glad this could be read as a standalone.
The story begins with DI Kim Stone being assigned to be in-charge of an abduction case whereby two nine-year-old girls are kidnapped. Truth be told, it is one of the girl's mother who'd requested for Kim to lead the investigation since they are friends going way back to their foster care days but had lost touch as they each go through separate ways. As much as their friendship is estranged, Karen trusts her friend's capability and competence and she knows Kim would do a good job despite everything.
Elizabeth, the other lost girl's mother, is friends with Karen and since their girls are close with each other and that both families are financially loaded, they become easy target for the kidnappers. However, this is an abduction unlike the others. Though the kidnappers still demand for a ransom, they've raised the stake by playing an auction game and which family pay the most will get to have their daughter back; the family who didn't succeed will lose their daughter. It is a sick abduction case and Kim knew their games very well because they'd lost a girl through the same tactic a year ago. Like Charlie and Amy in present day, Emily and Suzie were both kidnapped but only Emily returned. No one knew why Emily was released and Suzie's mother always think that she'd failed because she didn't raise enough money. Suzie's body is never found.
Not wanting history to repeat itself, Kim treats the current case with extra caution; first the media blackout and that no extended families or friends to know about anything. Still, it is all a challenge as Kim often finds herself crossing paths with a nosy reporter who is believed to have indirectly caused a teenager's death due to her inappropriate article. Kim despises her for releasing the information of the teenager's condition while his gang leader wants him dead for leaving the gang. Tracy Foster claims she is innocent and that the timeline didn't match with her article when it was released so Kim has this task to look into as well.
I've to say Lost Girls is an intense, well-crafted crime thriller and unlike other abduction stories I've read in the past (the abduction part really got to me and my heart really went out to both sets of the parents.) Kim is an unforgettable character, in terms of her personality and her work ethic. She is one tough detective but she also shows readers her softer side when the girls are concerned. All the characters are superbly portrayed; each showing their strength as well as their flawed side. Even our heroine, Kim, has her dark past and I'm very curious to learn more about her and to find out how she's become what she is today.
Aside from the plot, this story also tells us the side of parental love, about gang culture and finally, what drives a person to extreme pressure and insanity under certain circumstances. There's definitely a few things to ponder about in this story but what really stands out is the parental love and the courageous acts of the girl(s) during dangerous situations.