ARC review: The Lake of Lost Girls by Katherine Greene

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 Permalink

The Lake of Lost Girls by Katherine Greene isn’t out until later this year but I had an early copy and (at the time of reading) nothing else on my Kindle due to be published soon so figured I’d jump in early. And I discovered that Katherine Greene is the pen name of bestselling authors A Meredith Walters and Claire C Riley. And is it just me or is it weird they both have initials in their names? Interestingly they’re both based in the UK but this is set in a small American college town and it’s their second collaboration.

ARC review: The Lake of Lost Girls by Katherine GreeneThe Lake of Lost Girls
by Katherine Greene
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1639109099
Pages: 320
four-stars
Goodreads

It's 1998, and female students are going missing at Southern State University in North Carolina. But freshman Jessica Fadley, once a bright and responsible student, is going through her own struggles. Just as her life seems to be careening dangerously out of control, she suddenly disappears.

Twenty-four years later, Jessica's sister Lindsey is desperately searching for answers and uses the momentum of a new chart-topping true crime podcast, Ten Seconds to Vanish, that focuses on the cold cases, to guide her own investigation. Soon, interest reaches fever pitch when the bodies of the long-missing women begin turning up at a local lake, which leads Lindsey down a disturbing road of discovery.

In the present, one sister seeks to untangle a complicated web of lies.In the past, the other descends ever deeper into a darkness that will lead to her ultimate fate.

It was the second book I’d read in a fairly short timeframe that featured a podcaster, though I have to admit the podcasters here feature fairly minimally, other than to break the dual timeline storytelling and offer up another ‘medium’ if you like, with the podcast transcript included.

In the present 30 year old Lindsey manages a hotel reception desk and hasn’t felt she’s able to leave town as her parents have never really recovered from the disappearance of her sister twenty-four years earlier. Although only six at the time, Lindsey looked up to the much-older Jessica and feels her loss keenly as the college student seemed to have been the perfect foil to her parents different styles of parenting and coping.

Jessica was very close to her father and – unfortunately for Lindsey – her mother admits to only having a second child so she had someone who could love her the same way. Jessica was a high-achiever and star student. She was the apple of her father’s eye and her mother, though quietly proud, was a hard taskmaster.

In the present the podcasters’ decision to revisit the case is timed with the discovery of bones. It seems astonishingly weird that the police at the time did not see the connection between four girls going missing from the same college in a small town… where nothing usually happens. Although we do learn that there was a lot of misinformation shared – both accidentally and on purpose.

Some of this book was predictable. Lindsey meets a journalist staying at the hotel who’s after the truth but it’s pretty obvious he has an agenda which (thankfully) is fairly quickly revealed. I appreciated the extremes Greene takes with his character and the fact that he’s one of several characters with blurred lines of morality and… well, not necessarily at the right end of the good-to-evil spectrum.

On learning of the link between her sister’s disappearance and that of other students Lindsay starts digging and soon discovers the Jessica who disappeared was quite different to the one that had started college just months earlier.

I found Greene’s storytelling to be engaging and I liked both Lindsay and Jessica. The mystery at the heart of this book easily had my attention but there’s also an examination of deeper issues around family and relationships. Around trust and secrets.

We get some hints so it doesn’t render the final twist as shocking as it could have been. It’s still unexpected, but one’s more likely to gasp and then a nod – like ‘Ah yes, of course.’ Greene gives us lots of red herrings though and characters awash with grey. Not all bad. But perhaps not all good either.

The Lake of Lost Girls by Katherine Greene will be published by Crooked Lane Books (PRH) in November 2024.

I received an electronic advance copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

four-stars

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