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Little Girl Lost by Brian McGilloway - Review

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

I requested this book at the library a couple of months ago, and it came in in mid October so I picked it up soon after. I was intrigued by the fact that the book is set in Derry in Northern Ireland, as I haven't read much set there and I thought it would be interesting to read a police procedural set there. I was right, it was - there was plenty of history around the Troubles and how they were impacting upon life today . The book was published 11 years ago and is set in 2009.

Lucy Black is a detective constable and has recently moved back to Derry to look after her dad, who has dementia and keeps getting her confused with someone called Janet. Lucy and her parents, both police officers, lived in Derry when Lucy was small, but after their house was set alight they moved to Antrim. Lucy is estranged from her mother, but her mother is also Assistant Chief Constable in the Derry police. She is divorced from Lucy's dad and Lucy thinks that almost no one knows who her mother is amongst her new colleagues. 

It's winter and snowing heavily when Lucy gets a call one morning to say that a child has been found in nearby woods. There is a sixteen year old called Kate McLaughlin missing and Lucy hopes this is the child. But this kid is much younger - around eight or nine. She is rescued but doesn't say anything, so police and social workers aren't sure where she belongs. She forms a bit of an attachment to Lucy, who keeps visiting her. It is found that she's covered in blood, but again, no one is sure who that belongs to.

Lucy is moved out of CID to the Public Protection Unit, under a man called Fleming. She is working on finding Alice's family when she realises that the case might be linked to Kate McLaughlin. Kate's father, Michael, owns some land on Derry's dockside that is supposedly worth a lot of money, so the case is assumed to be a kidnapping, but no ransom demand has been made. Lucy steps on some toes to try to get to the bottom of what has happened to both girls. 

Her dad is getting more ill. He's been going through his old police notebooks and keeps talking about Janet. Lucy wants to find out the truth here, too.

This is the first Lucy Black book and I would read more, I liked it and Lucy and the setting. I liked the police corruption portrayed too. I'm giving this four out of five. 

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