Synopsis: “A brave, unflinching heroine and brave, unflinching writing add up to an extraordinary debut–highly recommended.”–Lee Child
A dark, compulsively readable psychological suspense debut, the first in a new series featuring the brilliant, fearless, chaotic, and deeply flawed Nora Watts—a character as heartbreakingly troubled, emotionally complex, and irresistibly compelling as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole.
It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren’t looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.
A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.
The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.
This book had such a slow, yet intense pull embedded within the narrative and I feel like this year has been the year to re-discover first-person POVs. Again, I found myself drawn to the suspicious and hands-off approach to life with Nora’s character and the author’s compelling first-person perspective. Nora was very suspicious about all the people in her life, but I enjoyed reading how she was even suspicious and unsure about herself.
The method of Kamal’s portray of Nora’s story made her both a reliable and unreliable source of information as the story progressed and if you are a reader who likes slow build ups to tension and mysteries that keep you guessing until the last few pages, The Lost Ones would be my recommendation to you.
Nora is a broken character, but she acknowledges this, accepts it and keeps moving forward and that is something makes her so real and relatable. There is a vulnerability, a strength, an honesty and a rawness that makes her like any other character I’ve come across recently. A true survivor, through and through.
After finding out about the disappearance of the daughter she gave up at birth, Nora takes the reader through the back and forth thoughts about her increasingly growing curiosity toward the girl, against her better judgment, and the fear that her past is creeping up on her.
While maintaining this unhinging amount of focus on the thought that the two might be connected, had me hooked. This book was an easy read as far as pace goes, but the more we chipped away at Nora’s life before the disappearance, leading up the point when the paths finally intersect, the more intense and dangerous the narrative became and the little pieces of Nora’s story the author had me thinking I knew just become specs of this larger picture.
Likewise, the author also drew attention to those of mix ethnicity who go missing or are forgotten by authorities when they fall through the cracks. Nora’s character draws attention to her mix heritage that she knows little about, but also admits that the features she passed on to the child she never wanted might be the cause for her disappearance and it is something she seems to feel guilty about.
What was even more compelling for me was the fact that the main motivation behind Nora’s desire to track down the young girl was the fact that she felt the people she gave her away to, the ones picked to protect her, had failed her.
Driven by a responsibility to do at least that for Bonnie, along the way the reader gets to see Nora battle with the demons from her past and struggle with what looking for her biological daughter truly means for her deep down.
This book keeps the reader turning pages just to get a little closer to Nora’s character, her past, the secrets she locks away (even from herself) and the mystery behind Bonnie’s disappearance. And before you know–you’ve finished the book. This book and Nora will stay definitely stay with you.
About The Author:
Sheena Kamal holds an HBA in political science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Kamal has also worked as a crime and investigative journalism researcher for the film and television industry—academic knowledge and experience that inspired this debut novel. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.
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Thanks so much for stopping by. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you all check it out for yourselves. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour here. 🙂
Until the next post,