“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Lost Girls

Claire McGowan’s debut THE FALL caused something of a stir when it was published earlier this year, prompting no less an authority than Peter James to declare that, ‘Claire McGowan will undoubtedly become a major name in crime fiction.’ Her follow-up novel, THE LOST (Headline), will be published in April of next year, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Not everyone who’s missing is lost.
  When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker.

Not everyone who’s lost wants to be found.
  Surrounded by people and places she tried to forget, Paula digs into the cases as the truth twists further away. What’s the link with two other disappearances from 1985? And why does everything lead back to the town’s dark past - including the reasons her own mother went missing years before?

Nothing is what it seems.
  As the shocking truth is revealed, Paula learns that sometimes, it’s better not to find what you’ve lost.
  THE FALL was set in London but THE LOST is set in Claire’s native Northern Ireland, making it another title to add to the growing list of post-Troubles narratives that are set in the present but keep one eye on the past. In unleashing a forensic psychologist on the pathologies of 1980’s Northern Ireland, Claire may well be akin to pointing Pandora towards a firmly sealed box - especially as, in Northern Ireland, the words ‘lost’, ‘missing’ and ‘disappeared’ are interchangeable to a chilling degree. All in all, it’s a tantalising prospect.

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