The Lost by Simon Beckett

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The Lost by Simon Beckett

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A Metropolitan Police firearms officer puts himself in a difficult situation to help a former friend and finds himself revisiting the disappearance of his son ten years ago. A compelling read with a great ending.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: November 2021
Publisher: Trapeze
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1398706903

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The disappearance of Metropolitan police firearms officer, Jonah Colley's young son, Theo, just about finished him, particularly as he blamed himself for what had happened. He'd fallen asleep in the park whilst Theo was playing and when he woke, Theo had gone. It cost him his marriage and his home. Ten years later he's largely come through it and he's out with his team when he gets a phone call from DS Gavin McKinney. Gavin used to be his best friend but it's a long time since they've spoken. He's obviously in some difficulty now - Jonah can hear it in his voice - and he asks Jonah to meet him at Slaughter Quay. There's no one else I can trust, he says.

Slaughter Quay is aptly named. When Jonah gets there he finds four bodies wrapped in polythene sheeting. One is Gavin but there's movement from one of the other bundles and the girl, burning in quicklime, tells him that her name is Nadine. Then Colley is hit from behind and barely survives the attack. Worst of all, DI Fletcher and DS Bennet obviously see him as a suspect for the murders, but Jonah feels certain that Gavin had something to tell him about the disappearance of his son.

Like Simon Beckett's other stories, it's a dark tale, but not gratuitously so. The bodies pile high and it's difficult to see how Colley is going to come out of this with his freedom. He's blinkered by his obsession with Owen Stokes, who was at the park when Theo disappeared but was cleared by the police. Jonah's convinced that even if he wasn't responsible, he certainly knows what happened. Now it seems that Stokes is out to get Jonah. Or, if not Jonah, then his ex-wife, Chrissie and her twins, will do instead.

Struggling on crutches after the injury he suffered at Slaughter Quay, Jonah attends Gavin McKinney's memorial service and is shocked to find that he's the only uniformed officer who goes to the wake: there's a great deal about McKinney that he didn't know about and none of it's good.

It's a cracking story with a great plot. I read it far too quickly because I reached a point where I wasn't going to put the book down until I'd found out what happened. The ending is stunning: I didn't see it coming despite all the clues being there.

I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

For another standalone from Simon Beckett, try Stone Bruises.

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