Lead Review

  • Book: The Lost (Stone & Oliver 1)
  • Location: Northumberland, The North East (England)
  • Author: Mari Hannah

Review Author: tripfiction



I am a big fan of Mari Hannah and have read all of her books. So, I eagerly awaited The Lost and wondered whether Mari could pull it off again with another two new characters, Stone and Oliver.

I think she does. Once again we are transported to beautiful Northumberland where the reader is introduced to Frankie Oliver, the daughter and granddaughter of well respected and now retired police officers; and to Detective Inspector David Stone, recently returned from the London Met. They are a new partnership and are feeling their way with each other.

A ten year old boy has gone missing, not usually a job for CID, but DS Frankie Oliver has an inbuilt intuition and feels that all is not as it first seems. This signals the start of building her relationship with Stone. She persuades him to take a look at the case.

Here begins a complex story with inter-related connections and complex relationships. The boy returns home the next day, safe and sound. There are many questions. Who is telling the truth about who sent which message? The alibi witness stories do not match up. What is the marriage like between the boys parents Alex and Tim? Where does Kat the sister come in? Is the personality and lifestyle of the nanny, Justine, as it first seems?

I was gripped by this book and if you read it I suggest you free up a day, you will not want to put it down. Who is lost? Not just the boy. There are secrets that are eventually revealed.

I really like the new characters, Stone and Oliver, they are a good foil for each other. One methodical and careful, the other intuitive who follows her nose and who is not always liked by the ‘bosses’

I know Northumberland quite well, as does Mari Hannah who lives in the county. She uses the rural locations of lonely forest lanes and small hamlets to good effect in this fast paced crime fiction.

I enjoy reading books about the place where I live, it really brings a story alive for me. I don’t have to imagine the places, I know them, I drive through the villages, I go to the restaurants. Despite this I always find out something new and have a great deal of sense of place. But, if you are not familiar with Northumberland, Mari Hannah superbly describes the places, both rural and urban to add character to her fiction. However, the places are real.

When you start to read this novel, who is lost seems quite apparent, but there are several lost characters for me; running from something, trying to forget something and personal secrets.

I’m looking forward to Stone & Oliver 2.

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