The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1) by Helen Phifer

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In the mid 70s, 9 year old Lizzie can’t stand her younger baby brother. He’s stolen her parents attention and all he does is cry. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and smothers him with a pillow. Unable to stand looking at their daughter, her parents send her to The Moore, an insane asylum for children, where lobotomies are a common practice.

Fast forward to the present day, a man is found murdered in the now abandoned asylum, and DI Lucy Harwin is called to the scene to investigate. Shortly after the man is found, another murder occurs, and Lucy can’t help but feel they are connected. It appears that someone is murdering people with connections to the old asylum. It’s up to Lucy to figure out who is committing the murders, and why now? As the murders escalate, Lucy finds that she too may be in danger…

It’s been a while since I’ve loved a police procedural so much! I sometimes find the police work piece to be a little tedious, but this was not the case with The Lost Children. I was instantly hooked from the first chapter where we are introduced to Lizzie and the other children in the asylum, and stayed hooked through the rest of the book.

The Lost Children is told primarily from Lucy’s point of view, however there are some chapters told from her partner Mattie’s point of view as well as from the killer’s. I loved having the glimpse into the killer’s mind and learning why they felt like these crimes needed to be committed. I also loved how everything tied together in the end. While I did have the ending figured out really quickly, that didn’t stop me from throughly enjoying the book.

I loved the writing in the book. It was quick and flowed well, and I felt that Phifer did an excellent job of showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of each character, while maintaining separate voices for each. I sometimes feel that characters sound too much the same in books where one character is the predominant lead, and the supporting characters end up sounding the same as the protagonist, but that was not the case here. Each character felt well developed and rounded out, and I really enjoyed that.

I also loved seeing where Lucy started and ended. She started the book with some issues with her daughter, love life, alcohol, and work, but ended the book in a much better place, and I really enjoyed reading that progression. The one tiny thing I didn’t love was the ending felt like it ended REALLY quickly. It was like I turned the page expecting more of a “what happens now” resolution, but the book was over. I know this is just the first book in the series, but the ending did feel a little abrupt, and I wish it had been elaborated on a little more. That said, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and see where Lucy and Mattie are headed next!

Despite my small qualm with the end, I can’t find much fault in The Lost Children, and definitely recommend it for fans of thrillers and police procedurals. This was a 5 star read for me! A huge thank you to Netgalley, Helen Phifer, and Bookouture for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. The Lost Children is out now, so be sure to pick this one up now!

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3 thoughts on “The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1) by Helen Phifer

  1. Pingback: March 2017 Wrap Up! | The Blonde Likes Books

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