by Adam Nevill
Available from Book Depository
The year is 2053 and the world has succumbed to climate change, pandemics, a lack of food, mass immigration and ruthless gangs who seek to capitalise on the global misfortune through prostitution, drug dealing and trafficking rings. The world contains a bleak future for most but for one father out there, his life stopped the day his four year old daughter Penny was snatched from their garden two years previously. Since that day his life has become a living hell as he tortures himself for not keeping an eye on her and for not protecting her when she needed him most. Turning vigilante, the unnamed father makes it his duty to find out information from whoever he can about the circumstances around his daughter’s abduction, even if it means beating it from them. Even if it means killing.
With the police snowed under with an ever-rising wordkload and no leads on his little girl, the case has been forgotten by those so-called in charge. The father must take action into his own hands and with the help of mysterious agent Scarlett Johansson and detective Gene Hackman, he will do whatever it takes to find his daughter, whether she be dead or alive.
No-One Gets Out Alive author Adam Nevill is back with this realistic thriller of a near-future where the world has descended into chaos. With tales of sweltering hot summers as climate change reaches towards its peak and with the global population unstable as the population far exceeds food supplies, this is as bleak and realistic a future you can get. The scariest thing is that it can certainly happen, even in my lifetime. Nevill uses this backdrop to tell the story of a parent’s greatest fear: the loss of a child. Combined with this strained society where no-one gives a damn and where criminals seem to rule the roost, it seems as though all is lost from the very beginning. One man’s love and hope is all that’s left and we follow his journey as he becomes a changed man to find what he’s lost – his daughter, his soul.
LOST GIRL is a slow-burn read, one of those you have to have patience with. Unfortunately I found the first quarter of the book difficult to get into. There seems to be far too much description for me to take in and it seems as though the story and its momentum took a backseat whilst the focus shifted to the setting. When it finally picks up the pace it becomes a gripping story and the scrapes which the father gets himself into are tense enough to make you care and react as though you were witnessing it in real-time. However, the excess use of scene setting still lingers on and even some of the dialogue, particularly in the latter end of the book, seems to outstay its welcome and could have been curtailed for a blunter, grittier outcome than what was achieved. Even the characters lack the dimension I’d expected and often feel cold apart from a major player towards the final third of the novel. Despite this, the core element of the story is a poignant one and will strike a chord with anyone who reads it, parent or not. The sense of loss, guilt and grief is overwhelming and you feel the father’s pain as he commits these unspeakable crimes.
A frightening look at a possible future, LOST GIRL is a nightmare we can only wish will stay within author Adam Nevill’s pages