118. The Missing Ones (Detective Lottie Parker Book 1) by Patricia Gibney

Synopsis (as taken from the Amazon Kindle Store) is as follows:

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

Ability to read – From chapters 1 to 10, I really struggled with the book. I couldn’t feel myself connecting in any way to the characters or the setting and I struggled to read with any enthusiasm. However, I stuck with it and once I’d passed chapter 10, I found myself understanding the story and the characters and I got the connection I needed. For the rest of the book I found myself drifting along at a good pace and towards the end my reading picked up as the book hit its climax but I could still understand what I was reading at a faster pace.

Characterisation – I love a good strong female Detective character and Lottie fit perfectly into that mold. The case was, shocking, especially knowing that scandals like this have happened before in the real world. I respected that Lottie was a character with troubles but that she was able to still work as a powerful woman during moments of high stress and anxiety. The fact that she was so troubled by her past and of questions left unsaid, made her character appear more powerful to me and presented her as a raw and unpolished human. From reading this one book I can see that there is plenty of space for Lottie to grow as a character and there are plenty parts of her life and family that she still has left to work through. Seeing how on top of things and how presented she was in this book, I can only imagine what a force of nature she’ll be when she has worked through everything that is troubling her.

There was a mix of characters in this book. The supporting characters of , Boyd, Corrigan, and Lottie’s family each had a mind of their own and actions that supported that and I never felt like they were being pushed to the wayside or not being given a chance to grow and change. In light of everything that has happened in this first book, it will be an interesting journey to see what happens to these characters.

The characters central to this book’s plot were varied in their mental scopes, attitudes and the way their lives were lived. I did guess one of the main players before he was revealed in the climax but it was a guess that I kept arguing over because I wasn’t sure if the author was playing me – as I thought my guess was too easy – however, the second main player was a complete surprise to me and made me think about the choices we make to right a wrong and how far that choice can take you before you realise you’ve gone too far.

I stopped several times while reading to research relevant information on google, and I found that it helped me to understand the characters on a deeper level. There was a level of suffering across the board of characters that I wasn’t expected and it gripped my heart tightly. I was caught by the characters and convinced to stay by the plot.

Visualisation – I found visualisation to be alright. At the beginning I struggled but once I got into the swing of things, I could clearly form an image of the characters, their surroundings and how they interacted with each. The image I created was probably a little on the dark side but by that point, I was fully invested in the story and the harrowing sadness at the route of the book.

Enjoyment – At the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I would like this book at all but I am so glad that I decided to persevere. Chapters 10 to the end of the book, I read in a single sitting and I was stuck on my seat devouring the book in greedy gulps. Overall, I found the book to be thrilling, gripping, dark, mysterious and full of compelling characters, a strong plot, actions and twists and turns that I wasn’t ready for.

The book took me on a complete one eighty from a case that had no evidence to rushing to stop a killer and Lottie was put through every emotion imaginable as she pursued the case to the bitter end. I felt for the characters I was reading about, not just Lottie and the supporting characters but the characters that were central to this book because their story was so haunting and painful that I wanted to get justice for them.

This book was my introduction to Patricia Gibney and I thought it was a phenomenal read. I will definitely be checking out the rest of the series and any other books Gibney has written.

Star Rating – ★★★★

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