Lost Souls by Neil White
|Lost Souls by Neil White|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The second McGanity and Garrett novel, this time set in Lancashire is better than the first and comes recommended by Bookbag.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 493||Date: May 2008|
|External links: Author's website|
D C Laura McGanity and her young son, Bobby, have left London and moved to Lancashire to join local reporter Jack Garrett, but it's not long before the calm and quiet proves illusory. Children are being abducted but then returned a week or ten days later, apparently unharmed and with no memory of where they've been or what has happened to them. There's urgency but not panic in the local police force. Then a woman's body is found. She's been strangled and her eyes and tongue have been brutally cut out.
We first met Jack Garrett and Laura McGanity in Fallen Idols, Neil White's debut novel. It was good although not brilliant but this book is a great deal better. Perhaps the major shift is that White is writing about his local area – he lives in Preston and the story is set in Blackley, a Lancashire mill town and it's quite obvious that he's completely at home with the setting and with the people. It does make a difference. He's also more familiar with McGanity and Garrett and whilst you don't need to know their back-story it's obvious that White is more comfortable with the pair.
And then there's the story. It's a nice touch, isn't it – the children being taken and then returned unharmed? One parent actually says that it's better now – she's more appreciative of what her child needs and less keen to be out working. It's almost difficult to take offence, isn't it? All the national papers are in the town, but it's almost as though they're intrigued rather than alarmed. The brutal murder is quite the reverse though.
There's someone in the frame for this straight away, but he's the son of the local Mr Big and with a good solicitor he's not in custody for long. We get to know this 'good solicitor' quite well too. The senior partner in his firm of solicitors grew up in a children's home with the local Mr Big and even after all these years they're still close friends, and the 'good solicitor', Sam Nixon is married to his boss's daughter. He's not quite certain what he's going to be pushed into doing in the name of family and old friendship. Sam's been approached by an old man who has dreams which predict the future and it seems that Sam, and his family, are in danger.
White has come into his own with this book. In 'real' life he's a Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service and it's obvious that he's made good use of what he's learned in the day job as it all comes over as something he's familiar with rather than research and despite the fact that some of the scenes are quite gruesome he handles them with sensitivity.
After the first book I wasn't certain that I wanted to see any more – I definitely didn't need to, but after reading Lost Souls I'm looking forward to seeing where he'll take McGanity and Garrett next.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of Last Rites by Neil White.
If police procedurals appeal to you then we can recommend White Nights by Ann Cleeves. I have seen Neil White compared to Peter James – but he's far better than that.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lost Souls by Neil White at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lost Souls by Neil White at Amazon.com.
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