Book review: The Lost Girl by Tania Carver

Thursday, March 24, 2016 Permalink

I’m a newcomer to the work of Tania Carver, having only read the previous book in the Brennan & Esposito series, Heartbreaker. So I was surprised when Martyn Waites responded to my tweet about the book, outing himself as Carver. Obviously it was / is no big secret and I’m just a little behind the times… but it’s nice to know, although I’m still unsure which pronoun to use when discussing the author! #firstworldproblem

Book review: The Lost Girl by Tania CarverThe Lost Girl
by Tania Carver
Series: Brennan & Esposito #8
on March 8th 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Police Procedural, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9780751557893
Pages: 416

When three men are found hanged in locations around Colchester, Detective Inspector Phil Brennan gets the shock of his life. Not only are the victims dressed to look like him, but each carries a defaced tarot card in the pocket of their identical leather jackets, scrawled across with one name: Phil Brennan.

The bodies aren't found in random locations - they're all in places where DI Brennan has caught a murderer. Someone is sending him a message. And he thinks he knows who it is...

Shocking and thrilling, in this dramatic new Tania Carver thriller DI Phil Brennan and his wife, psychologist Marina Esposito, have their lives turned upside down as the past comes back to haunt their present with terrifying consequences.

It wasn’t until I started this book that I remembered its predecessor (and the rest of the series I assume) started like an episode of Law & Order SVU: we’re introduced to a character or two and are briefly fooled into thinking something will happen to them (even though it never does) when they’re really there to stumble across the body / victim and set the stage for what’s to come.

Here we’re briefly introduced to THREE sets of players, all of whom stumble across a body. (I kept thinking we were being fooled and there was some time-trick being played on us and one of the groups would be the bodies discovered… or something).

Anyhoo, the bodies are a message for DI Phil Brennan – suggesting they’re a gift from a former nemesis. It’s one however that Phil knows cannot exist. As he watched them die. That all happened in a book I missed obviously, and – possibly – we were also previously introduced to a copycat or someone impersonating the now-dead psychopathic psychology student.

Phil sets off (for his former home turf) against the wishes of his wife, psychologist Maria Esposito, to assist in the investigation. It’s a trap and they all know it and before long, Phil’s missing.

After Phil’s disappearance his colleague DC Imani Oliver gets pulled into the investigation and Maria calls on a former friend (who retired in the wake of her partner’s death) to help solve the three murders and find her husband. The local police, it seems, are getting nowhere and seemingly unperplexed by the fact.

Early in the novel Carver introduces a backstory – one which goes back decades and sets the scene for what’s to come. The backstory is unfurled slowly, amidst the current case and is – just as, if not more – interesting. We readers think we can see where the two plots will intersect… but are we right?

It has to be said that Carver pulls no punches when it comes to the heavy stuff. We’re there with Phil as he endures some shocking torment at the hands of his kidnapper. And, readers need to remember this series is a bit like Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and similar, in that we learn pretty quickly not to get too attached to anyone.

So – a grisly and quite addictive – offering from Carver. Yet again. Bring on number 9.

The Lost Girl by Tania Carver was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

  • Stormi D Johnson
    March 24, 2016

    Not heard of this author but sounds like someone worth looking into. 🙂

    • Debbish
      March 24, 2016

      Definitely Stormi. I came into the series midway through but haven’t had any problem.

  • Tea Time with Marce
    March 24, 2016

    This sounds amazing, never heard of the series either. Do you think this is a good book to start or should I go for the beginning? I’m not really a series girl, love stand alones but this has me intrigued. Going to check out the author on amazon.

    • Debbish
      March 25, 2016

      You could easily start with this one Marce, as there’s really no catching up to do. I wasn’t aware of the case referred to in the beginning but it’s really only from the viewpoint of someone (kinda) mimicking them.

  • Rita @ View From My Home
    March 25, 2016

    I love to discover new to me mystery crime fiction series. This is already up to #8, but that doesn’t always stop me. However your warning that she includes grisly, gritty scenes in her books– I don’t know. I’m trying not to read those kind of stories anymore. So much violence in the real world. And yet I keep picking up crime fiction…. oh well.

    • Debbish
      March 25, 2016

      Yes… it’s not gruesome as such, but the detective who’s kidnapped is kinda sexually abused. Not violently but… I don’t want to promote any double standards, so he IS sexually abused.

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