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Lost    by S. J. Bolton order for
by S. J. Bolton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2013)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A serial killer is targeting young boys in London in S. J. Bolton's latest Lacey Flint novel, Lost. As this episode opens, Lacey, an impulsive young police detective with a dark past, is still officially off duty after her traumatic role in a case involving a Jack the Ripper copycat.

Much of the novel centers on Lacey's ten-year-old neighbor Barney Roberts, who is often left to his own devices when his father works evenings. Unbeknownst to his dad, Barney works at a local newsagent's and uses the money to fund his obsessive search for the mother who left them years before. And when his dad is away he hangs out with a group of school friends at a deserted community center.

DI Dana Tulloch of Lewisham's Major Investigation Team is finding this serial killer case hard - she's beginning to yearn for her own child and dealing with murdered children is clouding her judgment. She shares her feelings with her best friend, undercover officer Mark Joesbury. The latter is often to be found near Lacey's home - he's worried about her state of mind but she refuses to see him.

As the killings escalate, Barney agonizes over hints of his father's possible involvement. Lacey tells her counsellor she's thinking of leaving the police - 'I can't look into people's eyes and see the dark' - but does not share what else is going on in her life. A clinical psychologist goes on TV to suggest the killer has Renfield's Syndrome (Clinical Vampirism). And Lacey consults a jailed female serial killer about the case.

Of course, matters escalate ... to a stunning conclusion that brings Mark and Lacey together in a conflagration of violence as the identity of the Twilight Killer is finally revealed. And it's a shocker. Don't miss Lost. It's made me very keen to track down the earlier episodes of this outstanding series.

2nd Review by Lyn Seippel:

Lacey Flint is on leave from her job as a London police detective after undercover work leaves her mentally and physically drained. She is seeing a police psychiatrist who will sign off on her return to work, but Lacey isn't sure whether she wants to go back to being a police detective.

When young boys begin disappearing and are later found drained of blood, Mark Joesbury tries to pull Lacey into the investigation. Lacey isn't ready, but it's impossible not to think about the case that is constantly in the media.

Lacey and Mark's relationship is stormy as is shown in earlier books. First he thinks she is a murderer and later he saves her life. Before this series of murders began, he stalked her, watching her apartment and phoning or texting even though she never answered his phone calls and ignored his texts.

Lacey spends her time training hard and running, hoping to wear herself out enough to sleep and not dream. While she's out running she often sees her ten-year-old neighbor, Barney Roberts, in the area where the bodies were found. This is troubling because Barney is the right age to hit the killer's radar. His single dad is away until late at night at least twice a week. Lacey doesn't want to become involved, but gives Barney her cell phone number so he can call her in case he needs help.

Bolton has another winner in this the third Lacey Flint mystery. Her well-crafted characters are strong, but imperfect. Her stories are complex and her plots are tense and fresh, spinning away from the expected and coming to a satisfying ending. Bolton is fast becoming one of my favorite mystery writers.

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