The Lost Children

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Pub Date 30 Jun 2022 | Archive Date Not set


Matilda Darke is back…

With street crime at an all-time low, Matilda and her team finally find the time to dig into their backlog of cold cases.

DI Brady has been tracing victims of systemic abuse at a local children’s home after a high-profile accusation pitched it into the spotlight – a case that couldn’t be more personal.

Nothing could have prepared them for what they uncover next…
As they piece together the disturbing picture of the history of the home, it soon becomes clear that this is much bigger than either of them ever suspected.

When they find the body of a former staff member in a supermarket car park, Matilda realises her days on the force could be numbered.

The Lost Children is an utterly gripping crime thriller weaving a breakneck tale of a vast network of secrets and lies, a relentless detective determined to sabotage it, and a murder that shatters two decades of silence.

Praise for the DCI Matilda Darke Series:

Tense, twisty, emotional and gripping. Will definitely be reading more from Matilda Darke and this gets a huge 5 stars from me!’ Angela Marsons

‘Matilda Darke is an excellent character’ BA Paris

‘This explosive novel is already making a bang – with reviewers comparing Michael’s work to that of his heroes Val McDermid and James Oswald’ Sheffield Star

‘DCI Matilda Darke is going places’ James Oswald

Crackling dialogue, dark wit and an exciting ending. Recommended if you liked Happy Valley’ Mark Edwards

Budge up Jed Mercurio … when you are done working on Line of Duty I think it is time for you to meet Matilda’ LJ, Read and Rated Book Review Blog

Excellent plotting. The twists keep on coming making this an irresistible read’ Michael J. Malone

‘I really enjoyed getting to know DCI Matilda Darke’ Robert Bryndza

‘DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine’ Elly Griffiths

Matilda Darke is back…

With street crime at an all-time low, Matilda and her team finally find the time to dig into their backlog of cold cases.

DI Brady has been tracing victims...

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ISBN 9780008535568
PRICE $2.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 85 members

Featured Reviews

In 1997, Reverend Peter Ogilvy notifies the Chief Constable of the police of a murder of a boy from the children’s home he runs. The situation is never investigated. Now, in 2020, just as covid is emerging, a wealthy property developer is found mutilated and murdered at his home. The injuries imply a very personal motive. DCI Matilda Darke and her team are led to Reverend Peter and the abuse which took place at the children’s home he ran in the 1990/2000s. Reverend Peter hopes this time he will be listened to and justice will be upheld.
It is amazing to have DCI Darke back, although out of sequence from the last book. Matilda and her team have such a established bond, which helps them through this raw and gritty case. Desperate for book 10 already!

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Michael Wood is one of my favourite authors, I had to re read the previous 8 books before reading this and this book did not disappoint. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the privilege of reading this book.

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Thank you to #NetGalley for my advance copy of #TheLostChildren by #MichaelWood

When I saw the subject of this book I almost didn’t read it but once I started I couldn’t stop until I’d finished even though it’s 2 in the morning and I have to be up in a few hours.
The Magnolia Home was closed down years ago but a death has started people talking again about the things that happened there.
DCI Matilda Darke and her team are trying to investigate but being blocked at every turn.
Who is responsible and just how high does it go ?
A sensitive subject dealt with very well and a reminder that we must all protect the lost children.

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DCI Matilda Darke is back bigger and better than before! She's reached super heroine status in my book. This story is explosive and beyond suspenseful! This story encompassed everything a great suspense thriller should have! It should make us cringe, cry and scream at the futility of it all and yet provide a sense of relief knowing that with DCI Darke, the story would come to a fitting conclusion!

Thank you #NetGalley for providing AC!

Yolie McLaughlin

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Probably the best book I have read this year! This utterly gripping story had me hook from the first sentence. I am a huge fan of Matilda Darke, and like her even more after reading this book. I am trying to think of flaws in the book, but I can only think of one: it ended.

The story itself is utterly disgusting and horrible due to its nature of rich and/or powerful men abusing young orphan boys. This was back in the days, but the boys have not forgotten. It looks like one of them hast started killing the abusers, one by one.

The character development throughout this series has been outstanding! I feel like I know the people in the book, and I could easily see myself living alongside these characters. That is how vividly live they feel to me.

The writing is superb, the words simply flow on the pages, and I was soaking it all up like a sponge. The ending made me want to fly to the UK, drive to Sheffield, knock on Mr Wood's door, lock him up in a room, and not letting him out until he has written the next book in the series. So, Michael, you better be writing as we speak, because this reader is waiting, no, demanding more Matilda Darke!

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I chose to read a free eARC of The Lost Children but that has in no way influenced my review.

Michael Wood's DCI Matilda Darke series is one of the most exciting, most edgy police procedural series out there and I flipping love it! The arrival of the latest book, in this case book nine (!), is something I always look forward to with baited breath. So when I was offered the opportunity to read The Lost Children, I, of course, grabbed at it with both hands. What I love about this series is that the author isn't afraid to push the boundaries - either on subject matter or character development. Wood really likes to put his characters, including lead protagonist Darke, through the wringer which is something I appreciate. As a reader, I never know what to expect! The Lost Children takes the battered and bruised team, still hurting from their last few cases, deep into the heart of an upsetting and distressing historical child abuse case.

DCI Matilda Darke is called to the scene of a vicious murder. Local businessman and philanthropist, Richard Ashton OBE, has been slain in his bed in the most stomach churning of ways. Upon closer inspection into Ashton's life it becomes clear to Darke and her team that perhaps Ashton wasn't the figure of virtue he first appeared to be. It doesn't surprise DI Christian Brady who has been investigating historical claims of child abuse behind Matilda's back. Matilda can't ignore the connection between Ashton and events at Magnolia House, a home for young boys which closed many years ago. So she sets out to discover the truth. But at every turn, Darke is shut down. Extreme measures are put in place to prevent Matilda and her team from discovering the secrets of Magnolia House. But Matilda won't be stopped. . .

The Lost Children is an incredibly gripping addition to a superb series featuring some of my all-time favourite characters. I love the South Yorkshire Homicide and Major Crimes Unit but they've really had a tough time of it recently, and I'm not sure it's going to get any better for them anytime soon! This latest investigation is already personal for DI Brady and the devastating secrets the team reveal affect them all in some way. The subject matter is tough but the author has done a great job of writing a very difficult, very emotional story. There were times when I had to take a break from reading because I was so affected by the characters and their stories. It's heart breaking stuff but handled very well.

I found it fascinating how Matilda's investigation was shut down from every direction. I could really feel her frustration and her determination to keep digging, despite no longer having the resources. Her drive is one of the reasons I love the character as much as I do. I'm very much looking forward to seeing where Wood takes the team next as there are clearly changes afoot, one of which I hope is reversed. But knowing how this author operates, I can't be sure it will be!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Lost Children is a highly emotional, edgy read which I enjoyed. The subject matter is upsetting and I don't think this book will suit everyone but the care the author has taken with the story really shows. I liked the way the author didn't shy away from setting this book in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think, surprisingly, it's the first book I've read that's been set during the pandemic. Perhaps other authors are shying away from mentioning COVID for the moment. Perhaps it's too fresh. I thought it added a really interesting facet to the investigation though and applaud Wood for doing something many other authors are not. The DCI Darke series remains one of my favourites and I wait with baited breath for the tenth (!) book to be published later this year. Particularly after the incredibly tense and unnerving cliff hanger at the end. Wow, what an ending! I'm not sure I can wait until October to find out what happens next. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Lost Children. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

This review will be published on on 30th June 2022.

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This is an absolutely gripping read in the Matilda Darke series, the best yet. I can highly recommend the read to lovers of crime thrillers. Set between 1997 and 2020, at the start of lockdown, it opens with a visit to the Chief Constable by a priest, followed by a grisly murder scene. The characterisation is excellent and I could empathise with many of the characters. The read is a very emotional one, but the subject matter of child abuse is dealt with great sensitivity and respect to the victims. It can only be another 5* read from Michael Wood and I honestly can't wait to see what is next for Matilda and her team. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.

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I am a big fan of Michael Wood and Matilda it took me a bit longer too read this book than normal due too the nature as even if you haven't been abused you can't help but feel for the people who have i think it was very delicately written and there were some twists and tirns i didn't see coming. I can't wait for the next one.

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Each one of these books is better than the last. This one was sad, but realistic. I like the on going story line with Steve and Matilda. I like the many uncertainties and I like the nice balance between the case and the detectives personal lives. I am excited to read what happens next.

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Another brilliant tense read from this author in the Matilda Darke series Michael Wood certainly knows how to keep you interested in his story lines. I was hooked from the very first page, the characters were all excellent and I just love Matilda's colleagues (what's left of them), a great story which just got better and better with each page I read and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

What can I say about the ending, obviously nothing on here but what a fantastic cliff hanger which Michael always seems to do just brilliantly, I just cannot wait for the next book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins (OMC) for this great ARC which I can thoroughly recommend.

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Warning: Triggers for child abuse, suicide, and rape.

When a prominent local businessman is found dead by his housekeeper nothing can prepare DCI Matilda Darke and her team for the scene which awaits them. As they begin their investigation it becomes clear there was far more to their victim than met the eye, the more lurid details of which will only be become apparent if they can get reluctant people to come forward.

With more than one area of concern to look at initially it becomes clear quite quickly where they should concentrate their investigation so why are they being instructed to steer their efforts in a direction which provides no leads? When details are leaked in the national press Matilda finds herself on the defensive but nothing could have prepared her for what happens next.

This is the nineth Matilda Darke novel and once again is horrifically amazing. The crimes, reasons behind them, and the perpetrators, never disappoint and the dialogue, emotions, and humour are also as spot on as ever. There is nothing here which I didn't like or felt was unnecessary and this is easily one of the best I've read all year.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the opinions expressed are my own. This is an absolutely brilliant read which I can't recommend highly enough. It is absolutely first class.

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Well. If you were wondering if whether of not Michael Wood can keep up the relentless pace in his Matilda Darke series, and whether the next tale would be as emotive and shocking as those that have come before, wonder no longer. The answer is a resounding yes. Sure, it's not going to have quite the explosively emotional pull of Time Is Running Out, maybe not even the jaw dropping revelation of Survivor's Guilt, but it still packs a punch, one that hits right at the heart of the team. This time it is DI Christian Brady who features pretty much centre stage, with an emotional attachment to the case which goes far beyond his being a dedicated career officer. The consequences are stark, the impact on the team far reaching. This is yet another game changer and one that left me wanting more.

Featuring themes of child abuse, this is a book with quite a dark heart, but one in which enough of the story is spelt out to make the suffering of the victims felt, both at the time of the abuse and in the intervening years, but that also keeps the worst of the atrocities off the page. Not that there is any doubt about what has happened, or the way in which there has been an absolute abuse of power, but with the violence meted out against the perpetrators, I don't think you really need a graphic exploration of abuse to be able to understand the horrors endured. MIchael Wood has never shied away from quite dark and twisted methods of dispatch for the victims of his novels, and he certainly hasn't this time. Not the first time I've seen this particular method employed and it's certainly effective and sends a very clear statement.

Set during 2020, the book does fall within the time of the pandemic, which brings with it it's own set of challenges in investigating the initial murder. But that is the least of the teams worries, and whilst not ignoring best working practice and legislation on a party-gate scale, they certainly push work bubbles to the very limits. Needless to say tempers are running high and mistakes are made that have catastrophic consequences. It adds tension and conflict to an .already strong storyline. There are some very big changes afoot for the team and I'm not quite sure how the author is going to spin it going forward but I am very curious to learn.

Characters really are key in this series and Matilda Darke and the team are a brilliant bunch, people I enjoy catching up with. There has been significant change for them all over the course of the past few books, not less so that Sian and Matilda and both are struggling as you would expect. I like seeing the more vulnerable part of Matilda, if you get what I mean. She has always been impacted by emotion, but now she is also dealing with fear and whilst it does show an impact, seeing her overcome it and achieve what she does best always brings a smile to my face. I felt as though we go to know a lot more about Christian too, far from the over professional, somewhat contained personality we have seen in other books. He is driven by passion and anger this time around and it's good to see that side of his character set free.

The book sees several story arcs brought to a conclusion, but do no fear. Whilst we might say goodbye to a few familiar faces, it's in no way as dramatic a fashion as of late. Not sure my nerves could cope with that. Then again, as nice as the author has been in certain circumstances, we have to mention that ending. So full of promise, and threat, I can't wait to see how it pans out.

Dark, tense, twisted and thrilling. I loved it. So glad I found this series. Roll on book ten. I think ...

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How do you top what was possibly? last year’s book of the year? By writing an even more gruesome, grim and disturbing story that puts Mathilda and her team under ever increasing pressure and restrictions to solve the case. And that’s without Covid restrictions!

The author gives a warning right at the start as to the subject and contents of this book, which handles the subject as sensitively as possible.

The story starts in 1997, when the Reverend who runs a children’s, home goes to the Chief Constable to report a murder and start an investigation into child sex abuse. Move forward 23 years and a very prominent businessman is brutally murdered. The deeper DCI Darke digs, the more pressure from higher up to drop the case. Do you really think that is going to work with Mathilda?

There are several chapters written from the killers’ point of view and phone calls with Mathilda, and to be honest I actually found my sympathies lie with the killer and hoping that for once the killer will get the justice they deserve? The actual crime scenes are not for the faint hearted, but in view of the reason behind then, are they enough!

I highly recommend this book and of course the entire series, there isn’t a dud in there. Mr Woods has done it again, another fast paced, tension building, grim and gruesome story. Can’t wait for book 10.

Thank you NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins UK / One More Chapter for the much-anticipated sequel to Survivors Guilt.

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The Lost Children by Michael Wood is book 9 in the DCI Matilda Darke series. The characters in this series are so engaging and get under your skin. Matilda, Sian and Christian are all dealing with horrific events in their past, both recent and historic, and in this brilliant and engrossing read, I found myself continually holding my breath as the events unfold. This is a cleverly crafted storyline and so sad at times, I found I was crying. But Matilda and Sian in particular, have not lost their sense of humour so there were laughs as well. This story dealing with crimes from 20 odd years ago leading to revenge and murder in the present day will be one of my books of the year.

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Another great edition to the series. Really enjoyable, Michael never disappoints. Fabulous read

Thanks for the arc

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In 1997 the Reverend Peter Ogilvy meets with the Chief Constable of the Sheffield constabulary, Tony Bates, to report the death of a seven year old boy at the Magnolia House boys home. Bates tells him to leave it with him. But nothing happens except the Reverend is shockingly threatened to keep his mouth shut.

In 2020, just as COVID is starting to spread police are called to a brutal murder scene. Richard Ashcroft, a wealthy and successful businessman, developer and philanthropist has been murdered in a way that seems to be very personal. DCI Matilda Darke and her team soon discover that Ashcroft funded the establishment of Magnolia House which has since closed its doors.

Meanwhile DI Christian Brady has been trying to track down victims of abuse at Magnolia House after some allegations are aired. As the team begins to dig into Ashcroft’s affairs, wondering if there is a link to his murder this line of inquiry is swiftly shut down by Matilda’s boss.

The plot thickens when more men are murdered, evidence disappears and ACC Ridley himself shuts Matilda’s team down. Clearly there is something very fishy going on and there may be corruption at the highest levels within the force. But you can’t keep a good detective down. Matilda moves the incident room to her dining room and the work continues. Christian seems to have a very personal stake in the outcome and he has found a witness willing to talk.

The story that Guy Grayson tells them is shocking and heartbreaking and makes for some very uncomfortable reading. Matilda’s team, those we have come to know over nine books now, are magnificent and go above and beyond to get justice for the many victims of these awful crimes. The audacity of the perpetrators is breathtaking. This story is dark and gritty and there is no fairytale ending. What we do get though is a cliffhanger intro into the next book as Matilda’s nemesis sends her an ominous message. I can’t wait for the next instalment. Many thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

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Matilda Darke is the lead investigator of an obviously sexually motivated murder, which she can handle. What she uncovers about the victim, not so much. She uncovers a decades old child sexual abuse ring.But the deeper she digs, the more victims she finds, but what’s worse, she’s being told by police higher ups to NOT investigate this the way it’s going. Will Matilda listen to her bosses? Will she find the murderer? Will she get justice for anyone?

This was unputdownable. Now I’ve never read a Matilda Darke novel, this is number 9, but I will definitely go back now and read them all.

I’m addition to using a very graphic murder scene to reel the reader in, knowing that there is an evil underbelly that drove some one to this kept me going. This novel dealt with heavy taboos but did so in a way that build compassion and empathy with the victims. It addresses corruption with a “I’m going to do right above all else,” mentality that is always lacking in these types of crime novels. It’s because of these reasons, I had to force myself to stop reading and go to bed.

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I've read most of the Matilda Darke series and I'd say this is Michael Wood's best yet. To me it marks a change in mood from the previous two where the author kept us entertained with high body counts and shock revelations. This time around the writing is thoughtful as it deals with the traumatic subject of the sexual abuse of children.
If this had been written ten years ago, many of us would probably have thought it farfetched. Who could imagine a high-profile philanthropist using the care facility he funded as his private fiefdom? Who would ever think of a benefactor routinely turning up and helping himself to a child to abuse? Or that many people in senior positions would know about the abuse and do nothing to stop the abuser? Well we all know differently now and this novel is a timely reminder of what abuse can mean for individual victims both at the time and years later.
Set in 2020, the story incorporates the pandemic in a seamless way, allowing it to act not only as backdrop but also as catalyst to some aspects of plot.
Despite the seriousness of the topic, the usual banter between Matilda and her colleagues is still there at appropriate moments. And Michael Wood leaves us with his trademark trail of breadcrumbs to coax us into the next instalment. The series goes from strength to strength.
(NB Although it can be read as a standalone, it contains spoilers to the previous two books so I suggest joining the series from the start.)

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this book.

I love this series. It’s had made me laugh and cry in equal measures and I low key stalk Michael Wood on twitter for updates and news of the next instalment. This was no exception, feel like I need Sian’s snack drawer next to me while I read for comfort!

When a businessman with his fingers in many pies is found dead with a brutal injury, Matilda and the team can’t predict what they will begin to uncover. Accusations of child abuse at a children’s home with the web of deceit spreading throughout society and a bit too close for comfort.

This was a really harrowing read. I found it hard at the beginning reading about the abuse even though for obvious reasons there it is vague and implied. Before long though Matilda, Adele, Scott, Christian and Sian and their amazing team work take over. I couldn’t turn pages fast enough and I’m gutted to be finished. With twists and turns throughout and the customary cliffhanger on the last page I can’t wait for the next one!

If I could give more than 5 stars I would. I highly recommend this. Just take note of the authors warning at the start.

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WOW.......... Another masterpiece in the DCI matilda darke series.. D.I brady is looking into cases of abuse at a local childrens home. It soon becomes clear the home has a much darker history, as matilda and the team delve further into the allegations, they uncover some shocking truths. Twists,turns, its gritty, i had a tear in my eye at times at what the children in the home went through. Brilliant writing. Highley recommend

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I really enjoyed this read, it was tense, fast paced and brutally gory. It was gripping right from the start and I couldn't put it down. A fantastic read.

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Yet again we are treated to another fabulous fantastic read from Michael. The start is the usual , Really gory and in insures you are desperate to read on. This time Matilda and her team are investigating of sexual abuse which took place years ago in a children’s home. it is empathetically written and even though there are disturbing murders carried out the story is totally gripping. What makes it different is that it is set at the beginning of lockdown in 2020 and it makes reference to the problems making the teams work even more difficult And even though it tackles a difficult subject it was sensitive and empathetic with the now trademark OMG ending I simply can not wait until the next one! Thanks to net galley and one more chapter for an early copy.

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I haven’t read many books so far that have been set during the recent pandemic so was slightly dubious about how this may affect my enjoyment as the couple that I have read, I will admit I wasn’t over keen on it being part of the storyline. Thankfully it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this novel at all and thought the author handled it very well without going overboard on the subject.

The author is someone who isn’t afraid to run with topics that are hard hitting. Yet again he delivers a story that really gets under the readers skin. In this book, Matilda and her team are investigating claims of sexual abuse that took place years before at a local children’s home. Due to the subject nature, it was both shocking and heart breaking of what the boys endured. This is another of those stories that will have you having empathy for the killer as you will be questioning who are the biggest criminals at play. There is nothing more sickening than when someone uses their position and power to carry out despicable acts.

The Lost Children was an emotional, edge of your seat read. With so much to lose, there is a lot at stake for Matilda and her team who come under threat for trying to do their job. There is never a dull moment and I was gripped throughout, frantically turning the pages to discover the truth. The author sneaks a few unexpected twists in that had me gasping out loud. This series really should come with a health warning as it is highly addictive and always sends my heart racing, leaving me on an emotional high. The ending yet again has me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. A five star crime series!

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This is a top procedural series, and while DCI Matilda Darke and her team become familiar over the course of the books, they can be read as satisfying standalones.
A particularly dark and gritty case, as is shown by the content warning at the beginning and sometimes hard to read, it delves into historic sexual abuse at a. Children’s home back in the 1990s. However it is sensitively and empathetically written and while there are disturbing murders, nothing is gratuitous and the story becomes totally gripping.
Set at the beginning of Lockdown in 2020 makes the teams work even more difficult as does corruption at the top. Brilliantly written, it is exceptionally good.

Thanks to One More Chapter and NetGalley for the opportunity to read the ARC in return for an honest review.

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This was an incredibly difficult read due to the subject matter and having had worked with children who have been abused it was even harder because this is not fiction, it sadly happens in real life.
That said this book is brilliant. The best in this series so far. It tackles a difficult subject sensitively then ends with a huge cliff hanger. Cannot wait for the next book!

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Michael Wood is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. His Matilda Darke series is fast-paced, great storylines that keep you on the edge of your seat, and are full of characters that become like old friends every time you meet them again.
The Lost Children was heart wrenching in places, with echoes of the cover up of Saville’s crimes. I can’t wait for the next instalment!

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I devoured the rest of the series earlier this year and it is without doubt one of the best police procedural series out there. If you haven't already picked one of Michael Wood's books up, I implore you to do so.

#TheLostChildren explores the story of a recent murder which has huge ties to events that happened in the past. Without giving too much away, the themes explored in this book are dealt with in a poignant and careful way and I couldn't turn the pages quick enough.

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Matilda Darke and her team investigate the murder of a high profile business man which reveals historical abuse in a children’s home. Matilda finds herself blocked at every turn, who can she trust? Aware of the danger and unsure if she will even be welcome in the police force after this investigation Matilda carries on regardless of the consequences. A fast paced, thought provoking tale with a harrowing storyline.

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The Lost Children by Michael Wood is a well-written, crime/detective novel with plenty of credible characters with rich back stories.

Back at work after being shot, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate the murder of a wealthy property developer. The crime scene suggests sexual motivations. After the initial report hits the newspapers, Matilda receives a call from Peter Ogilvy, the ex-owner of a children’s home for boys. Ogilvy explains that he has made many attempts to alert police to his suspicions of sexual abuse of boys by the murder victim and his associates. Ogilvy claims his concerns have always been shelved by senior police and hopes Matilda may be the one to finally expose the abuse and explain the cover up. Matilda raises the matter with her seniors and is told to cease that line of inquiry.

And then another murder victim is found with sufficient similarities at the crime scene to connect this victim to the first. One of Matilda’s team leaks information to a journalist, a detailed article appears and Matilda’s angry seniors close down her team, its investigation and make her position redundant. Her and her team’s response is to continue, hopefully uncover enough details of the abuse, find victims and gather their statements to force an official inquiry.

This is a cleverly-written and accurately-detailed crime story with richly-created characters. It is one of a series of books ‘starring’ DCI Darke and her team. The plot is paced well and there are plenty of plot twists and back stories to keep the reader both interested and intrigued, and eager to reach the conclusion. Crime, sex, detective work, all sprinkled with some contemporary British humour. I hope to read more in the series.

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The Lost Children by Michael Wood is book 9 in the DCI Matilda Darke police series. It is again an outstanding story about historical sexual abuse and how to obtain justice for the victims despite unseen forces trying to prevent them following up on any investigations.. it was hard to read the stories of the historical abuse and feel that unforeseen forces would prevent justice ever be seen to be done.
Highly recommended.

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A gripping and bloody look into historic child abuse. Just at the beginning of the pandemic a business man is murdered and this starts an unraveling of child abuse and murder in a children's home in the latter half of the 1990s.

Hard to feel sympathy for the victims. A good read.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I read a free advance review copy of the book. This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.

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The Lost Children is the ninth book in the Matilda Darke series and it’s one of my favourite crime series EVER! Michael Wood is an author who takes bold risks. Even our favourite characters aren’t safe from his evil imagination. One thing I love about this series is the way the author can surprise me, shock me and to leave me clamouring for the next instalment in this unmissable series. Matilda and her team are back in their darkest investigation to date. As they investigate the murder of a local businessman, they uncover his links to historical child abuse and murder at Magnolia House, a children’s home. They discover abuse and corruption at the highest levels of society and that someone will do anything to silence the team and their investigation.

The book makes for a grim and disturbing read, although Michael Wood approaches the subject of child abuse without sensationalising it. Matilda and her team are torn. On one hand, they are determined to bring the killer to justice, but when the evidence points to the killer being a victim, the lines become blurred. I never thought I would feel sorry for a killer, but when Woods lies bare their horrific back story, like Matilda and her team, I found my sympathies lay with getting justice for the killer rather than the loathsome victims. I should warn you the crimes scenes aren’t for the squeamish, but you can’t help thinking it’s fitting retribution for the victims’ actions!

Matilda has been through several life-changing experiences. We see a less confident Matilda but she continues to show a tremendous strength of character and resilience. Matilda and her team’s characters continue to develop and the camaraderie and dark wit between members of the team add some light relief to this dark and sorrowful tale. The tension is unbearable, the sense of evil palatable, the plot is fast-paced, leaving little time for the reader to catch their breath. The Lost Children is further proof that Michael Wood never disappoints. It’s a cracking read, it’s brutal, disturbing and utterly gripping and I loved it! Roll on the next instalment.

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This is the first book I have read by Michael wood and my first introduction to DCI Matilda Darke, it definitely won't be my last.

Matilda is investigating historical abuse claims relating to children in a care home overseen by a priest named Peter. Peter is a wonderfully caring man and is devastated to find out what has happened to his young charges all orchestrated by a powerful local businessman who has many of the districts leading powerful men under his thumb through threats of retribution if they do not adhere to keeping their mouths closed in regard to his sick sadistic ways of abusing young boys. These men are guilty of ruining lives and they deserve everything they get brutal though it may be. Peter has tried several times to have this investigated but due to a corrupt police force has been unable to make inroads.

Matilda is adamant that no matter what, she will find these men and throw the book at them, even if this means losing her career to accomplish this. I love her character, she has been to hell and back in her personal life but nothing will stop her getting justice for those involved.

In many ways this is an incredibly hard story to read due to the subject matter, but Michael Wood does a wonderful job in regard to the sensitivity of documenting this. This book will have your heartstrings pulled, you eyes with tears falling and your mind at an absolute loss as to how this kind of behaviour can be inflicted on young children.

I am now off the purchase the rest of this series and Michael Wood will now be at the top of my list of go to authors. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased honest review.

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The Lost Children by Michael Wood was soooo good! This is a sad topic but so real, and it was hard to read at times about the abuse these boys endured knowing this happens in real life. I liked the author's writing style and the flow of action.

I enjoyed that the book also tackled when the pandemic first began and how people reacted to the lockdown.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and I will read more from this author. I may even go back and read the other books in this series.

The author does an excellent job of providing chilling details on the crime scenes. When I got to the end, I yelled, "Oh, no, a cliffhanger!" I cannot wait to read the next book.

#NetGalley @0neMoreChapter_

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Doing the happy dance a new Matilda Darke book has landed in my inbox and goes straight to the top of my reading pile. After the day from hell when she lost half of her team in a horrific massacre and left Matilda in an induced coma. Slowly recovering and is back at work but is still grieving for her colleagues and is dealing with survivors guilt. This case maybe her last and come hell or high water she will get justice for the victims. Historical child sexual abuse is still a difficult subject to read about and the author has dealt with it sympathetically and with sensitivity. Brutal, heartbraking and I will never eat meat balls again. A chilling story and one of the first killers I was rooting for. Only one complaint I need the next now please!!!!
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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Thankyou to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter and the author, Michael Wood, for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of The Lost Children in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
May contain spoilers.
I absolutely love this author. His Matilda Darke series just gets better and better so I was really excited about the opportunity to read his new book. That is, until I read the content notice before the story actually began. I went in with the knowledge that it was not going to be an easy read.
I have to say, this author has approached this subject with sensitivity and care. There is no excessive details on the abuse experienced - that is left to the readers imagination. The horror and heartbreak experienced by the boys is written in a way that brought tears to my eyes.
This book certainly provides the roller-coaster ride just like previous novels. The characters are well drawn and compelling. I couldn't put it down until I finished reading it. As with previous novels, you cannot predict where Mr Wood is going to take you. And what an ending!!!!!!
Highly recommended read, especially if you enjoy this series.

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This series just keeps getting better. This characters and plot in this one are riveting and well-drawn. Matilda and her team investigate the murders of men tied to historical child abuse in a care home. The author gives a trigger warning at the beginning, but he handles the abuse very sensitively and without gratuitous detail. With such a loaded topic, this could be a difficult read but it was very well done and the investigation was riveting.

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Michael Wood is such a brilliant writer I just feel in awe of him! This book brought up so much sadness and anger, Matilda Darke and her team have developed throughout this series and I feel as if I know them. The knowledge of police procedure was astonishing. I don't feel that is appropriate to say that I enjoyed this book because of the subject matter but it was certainly enthralling and well worth reading.
Thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for allowing me the opportunity to give my unbiased opinion.

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Firstly I would like to Thank netgalley and HarperCollins one more chapter and the wonderful author Michael wood for a copy of this book to read.

This is a fantastic series,I'm never disappointed reading his books.DCI Matilda Drake and her team investigate a case involving a children home a case of child abuse.The author gives a warning in this book and handles the subject with care.I usually avoid books with sexual abuse I couldnt not resist reading this series.No one wanted to investigate this case,is someone in higher authority hiding something. A murder of a local businessman a gruesome murder, is there a connection?Highly recommend this of my favourite authors and looking forward to his next book.

This book will be reviewed on goodreads and Amazon.

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The Lost Children by Michael Wood.

Another book in the DCI Matilda Darke series, which whilst some of the backstory could be helpful , can be read as a standalone novel.
Set during the covid lockdown of 2020 , it centres on a case DCI Darke and her team have time to look at cold cases. They take on an investigation where DI Brady had already started investigating claims of abuse at a local children’s home. Uncovering high level abuse, and corruption, the team’s own lives are at risk.I
As always a great character in Matilda and her way of working alongside her team was as always exciting and twisty.
Full of suspense and gripping until the final conclusion.

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This was a enjoyable read
Has everything you would want in a police procedural book.
Kept me awake for hours

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From a rollercoaster ride of the past two books, this one is somehwat more sedate, but still encorporates all the aspects that make up a good Matilda Darke novel.

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Michael Wood doesn't get the credit he deserves. His Matilda Darke series is one of the best in contemporary crime fiction, and each new instalment outdoes its predecessor. Plot, character and location are always strong, and Wood's writing is exemplary. Matilda has been through several life-changing experiences and, although she often doubts herself, she shows tremendous strength of character and impressive leadership. The Lost Children is a triumph.

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Wow! What a chilling story! I hate to say it but those baztards got what was coming to them!! Lol thus book had suspense, intrigue, action, great police work, and a great who done it! It also had heartache and heartbreak! It was definitely a chilling story! The storyline was very interesting I highly recommend reading this book! It was well worth reading! I can't wait for the next book! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me! I definitely found a new author!

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This series just keeps getting better and better! The Lost Children is set at the start of the pandemic and the first UK lockdown of March 2020. Matilda and her team are still traumatised and grieving after the events of the past 15 months. As they investigate the murder of a local businessman they begin to uncover his links to historical child abuse and murder at a Sheffield children's home. They discover abuse and corruption at the highest levels of society and that someone will do anything to silence the team and their investigation.
I love this series and the relationships between Matilda and her team. As with all of this series the plotting is excellent and I was completely gripped throughout. I love the way the author develops the characters and their stories over the course of the series but this never gets in the way of the story. This can be read as a standalone but I would definitely recommend starting at the beginning of the series to fully appreciate the characters histories.
The author does give a trigger warning at the beginning of the novel so do be aware of this. However he deals with the subject matter sensitively and appropriately and there are no gratuitous details. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC.

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4 and 1 /2 stars

DCI Matilda Darke is still struggling with the murders of her loved ones and team members. She still doubts herself and her abilities.

The coronavirus has just hit the UK and the lockdowns have started.

When a retired priest named Peter tells Matilda that the mutilated body of the man they just discovered, that of a rich and influential businessman, is someone the priest knows has a history of sexually abusing young boys, it is explosive.

At the same time, Christian, a member of Matilda's team, is adamant about this man. He has been studying him for months, trying to verify the priest’s claims.

As more bodies fall, all mutilated in the same manner, the tension on the team ratchets up. The restrictions on the team caused by the lockdown doesn’t help their investigation.

Peter gives Matilda a list of 127 boys who were abused. The team starts looking into finding them. A number of them give the names of their abusers. They are the same men who are being killed.

How is Matilda going to solve this? Her team has been disbanded, her division is no more. She doesn’t have a job. Things are going horribly.

This is perhaps the most difficult case of Matilda’s career, but she and the team are determined to continue to work the case.

This is one of Mr. Wood’s best. Matilda is slowly getting better, the team members are coping with their losses as well. They all work so well together, it is more like a community than a workplace. The writing and plotting of this book are excellent. It is a smooth read. I cannot wait until the next book is available.

I want to thank NetGalley and Harper & Collins UK/One More Chapter/One More Chapter for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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#TheLostChildren #NetGalley
Matilda and her team finally find the time to dig into their backlog of cold cases.
DI Brady has been tracing victims of systemic abuse at a local children’s home after a high-profile accusation pitched it into the spotlight – a case that couldn’t be more personal.
Nothing could have prepared them for what they uncover next… As they piece together the disturbing picture of the history of the home, it soon becomes clear that this is much bigger than either of them ever suspected. When they find the body of a former staff member in a supermarket car park, Matilda realises her days on the force could be numbered.
Loved this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK One More Chapter for giving me an advance copy.

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Crimes of sexual and physical abuse of children in a care home have gone unpunished for over 20 years. The children who survived were too traumatised and afraid to speak out and the only person who did speak out was silenced when he reported it to the police, Twenty years on in March 2020 the country is in lockdown, Matilda and her team have no major cases to deal with, that is until they are called out to the gruesome, sadistic murder of a local businessman who is known for his charity work. Little do they realise the repercussion of the murder and what they uncover. Historical sexual abuse of children must be a hard subject to research and write about but Michael Wood is a brilliant author and he has got the balance spot on. It is a brilliant read, and I can't wait for the next in the series.

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Thank you to the publisher for the invitation to read this eARC.

I thought this was a very gripping and compelling read. Matilda and her team investigate the murder of a man who had secrets that slowly come out as their investigation progresses. The story theme is historical child abuse, which the author does give a trigger warning for at the start of the book. I felt Michael al Wood tackled this issue with much sensitivity, great care and with no graphic detail that, in my opinion, would have made this a harder read. Matilda and her team find themselves thwarted during their investigation with orders from above not to follow certain lines of enquiry which only makes them more determined to find the truth and get justice for the victims. I really like Matilda and her team having followed this series from the start and thought that this is a very well written and engaging book which grabbed my attention from the first page and held it right to the end. It became a real pager turner where I became desperate to know what would happen next, and I could understand and empathise with the murderers thoughts, feelings and actions. Michael Wood has wrote a cracker of a book here which I read in just over a day. Really looking forward to the next one.

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If only I could give more than 5 stars not only to The Lost Children but to the entire DCI Matilda Darke series.

I was lucky enough to get an ARC for The Lost Children so I immediately bumped it to the top of my pile

I am so glad I did.

It is the beginning of Lockdown and the world is changing.

Matilda and her team are back and facing a cases that is beyond disturbing and is far reaching.

There is a trigger warning at the beginning of the book but fear not Michael Wood has handled the subject of abuse very well and though you will cringe the pages will turn even faster.

Matilda still faces her own demons and so do her team after a rough few years.

Tempting though it is I wont say more so I dont give anything away

Michael Wood is a born storyteller that will reel you in from the first to the last page.

Clear your calendar and get ready to be totally absorbed in The Lost Children.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Uk, One More Chapter for a nail biting read.

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My thoughts about Michael Wood’s The Lost Children kept me on my toes. every twist got me thinking of numerous possibilities. Damn this book thrills from the very beginning to its climax so gripping and brilliant story everything about the book is on the top I have read so many thriller books but this one is totally different. Michael Wood yet again delivers another masterpiece that is unique and incredible and different. Michael Wood’s latest edition in the DCI Matilda Darke series The Lost Children is pure brilliance in accordance with the plot and the way each character carries out their part is mind-blowing. The story of Michael Wood’s The Lost Children begins in APRIL 2020: LOCKDOWN. DI Brady has been tracing victims of systemic abuse at a local children’s home after a high-profile accusation pitched it into the spotlight a case that couldn’t be more personal. As Matilda and her team piece together the disturbing picture of the history of the home, it soon becomes clear that this is much bigger than they ever suspected. But nothing prepares them for what they uncover next. The Lost Children is an utterly gripping crime thriller weaving a breakneck tale of a vast network of secrets and lies, a relentless detective determined to sabotage it, and a murder that shatters two decades of silence. All in all Michael Wood’s The Lost Children has a brilliantly written plot. no loope holes. Everything is clear and perfect. no lag. Always keeps the reader’s thrilled. A must read crime thriller. Without a doubt go for it, you won’t be disappointed. I would like to say a big thank you to author Michael Wood and Publishers One More Chapter for kindly gifting me a copy for me to read and review this spectacular thriller.

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DCI Matilda Darke and the team are picking themselves up after the shock of the last case and the impact it had on the team. It’s late March 2020 and the covid lockdown is just beginning but a body has been found that turns the stomach of the attending officers. Secrets are uncovered that opens more and more wounds. This does have an opening with trigger warnings as it mentions abuse and as always is handled well in relation to the story as all the Matilda Darke books have a darkness in them but balanced with humour and one liners that make you howl laughing. I await book 10! Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.

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In what is probably the most harrowing case of her career, DCI Matilda Darke has investigate the murder of a powerful man who has been linked to historic child sex abuse. I thought the author dealt with this horrendous crime with sensitivity and empathy. The reader could see how every member of Matilda's team was torn between searching for a killer and having sympathy for someone who had been so badly brutalized while still a young child. As they are met with interference at every turn the team realise that the abuse could go all the way to the top. This makes for an exciting read which I finished in one sitting. I can't wait for the next book in this great series.

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