Review & Giveaway: The Lost Girls by Wendy James


Title: The Lost Girls

Author: Wendy James

Published: Michael Joseph: Penguin February 2014

Status: Read from February 23 to 24, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

Read an Extract

My Thoughts:

Wendy James has been described as “A master of suburban suspense” {The Age} after the publication of Where Have You Been? and The Mistake. The Lost Girls, the author’s fifth novel cements this reputation with a compelling story of loss, grief and family secrets.

Fourteen year old Angie’s body was discovered a few days after she went missing in the January 1978, she had been strangled with her own scarf and dumped in the national park. Her unsolved murder, eventually blamed on an unidentified serial killer dubbed The Sydney Strangler, devastated her adoring cousins, Jane and Mick, with whom she was spending the summer, and the loss has haunted them ever since. Thirty years later, a journalist approaches Jane requesting an interview, claiming to be developing a radio documentary about the impact of murder on the loved ones of the victim. After so many years of silence, Jane finds relief in talking about the beautiful teenager idolised by her twelve year old self, but it isn’t just her talking, Jane’s brother Mick, her mother, and Jane’s husband, Rob, all have stories, and secrets, to share about Angie – about the way she lived… and about the way she died.

The Lost Girls is told through memories, interview transcripts, newspaper articles and the story of the present day, revealing the events that led up to, and followed, the death of Angie. As the novel unfolds, moving between time, place and perspective, the reader begins to piece together a wider view of the tragedy, and those affected, than any one character has.

While Jane remembers the cousin she adored with childlike innocence, her mother recalls a manipulative girl who, “…wasn’t really all that nice a child. She was always looking out for herself.” p158. Mick’s teenage crush on Angie colours all of his memories of the girl Angie was, while Rob has held one of her secrets for thirty years. Somewhere amongst their memories is the truth about who Angie was and how that may have contributed to her death.

It soon becomes obvious that the ‘journalist’, Erin Fury, is not motivated by professional curiosity but by a personal connection to the case. Her motivations are obscured for much of the story, helping to raise the tension as Erin digs for the answers to questions she is not even sure how to ask. Her ‘reward’ is learning a truth she wishes she never knew.

With a well crafted, multi-layered plot exploring the ways in which the past shapes us, and the difficulty in leaving it behind, The Lost Girls is an engrossing story of domestic drama and suspense. I’m happy to recommend this slow-burning but gripping suburban thriller.

Available to Purchase From


 PenguinAU I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko I AmazonUS


Thanks to Penguin Australia

I have

1 print edition of The Lost Girls to giveaway

**Open to  Australian Residents only**


Entries Close March 9th, 2013

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. geckogirlreads
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 17:37:10

    Great Giveaway – looks like a good read



  2. kathrynsinbox
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 19:32:24

    Wow, this one looks quite intriguing. I really enjoy books like these which show a range of perspectives instead of just one. It makes the story feel more … real somehow. Anyway, I’ll definitely be entering the giveaway 🙂



  3. Nikki-ann
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 00:23:58

    This sounds like a great read. I’ve not heard of the author before, but I think I’m going to have to check her out.



  4. Kailana
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 12:02:41

    Sounds good!!



  5. neer
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 13:47:39

    This seems very interesting. Adding it to my wishlist.



  6. Rowena Holloway
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 11:58:29

    I was lucky enough to read an ARC – Loved it! The Mistake made me gasp – this gripped me from the first page. Love our review Shellyrae.



  7. Teddyree
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 09:11:30

    Wonderful review Shelleyrae, sounds like my type of read. And I haven’t read anything by Wendy James yet … must rectify that 🙂



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