The Lost Boy
by Jane Renshaw
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Pub Date 10 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 12 Jul 2022
One island. Two women. A journey to hell.
The Clarke family, Penny, Rod and their two young boys, are delighted when they are offered a holiday in a high-end guest house on a remote and beautiful island.
Their hostess Anna seems like a lovely woman. But what the Clarkes don’t realise is that this is no random invitation, that Anna has carefully selected the family to satisfy her own sinister agenda.
Penny soon begins to sense there’s something off about Anna. She often speaks about her husband and son, but is it odd that they are both away? And that Anna seems perfectly content to be alone in this isolated place?
And then there’s the way she looks at Penny’s boys – as if she's sizing up chickens for the slaughter.
Penny grows increasingly uneasy and begins to do a bit of digging, which leads to a horrifying discovery – she finally realises who Anna is, and then she knows exactly why they’ve been invited to the island.
She also knows that if she and her family are ever going to leave, they’ll have to fight for their lives... and find the answer to one terrifying question – how far would you go for the people you love?
The Lost Boy – the gripping psychological thriller from the author of The Stepson and The Child Who Never Was.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 41 members
I feel like I’m starting my summer off on a good foot, here. What a fun little thriller!
Before I go into anything else, can I just say, wow! the setting! I think the setting drew me in the quickest, and then Jane Renshaw’s fast-paced writing did the rest.
Our protagonist, Anne, lives and runs a B&B on a secluded, private island on the rugged Scottish coast, and I, truly, envy her. It was so easy to picture the grey skies, the slate sea, the windswept island, the craggy coast. It is damp and mysterious and, honestly, cozy. What a perfect place to enjoy a thriller (so to speak).
We get to the island at the same time as the Clarks, a family of four - father Ron, mother Penny, and two wild boys, Friddie (10), Alfie (6). Anne invited them for a visit because Ron loves birds. Penny doesn’t, but she comes along because of the incident that happened a couple of years ago that left Ron depressed and listless. And we’re off from there.
I won’t go into the plot too far because there are plenty of summaries and other reviews that cover it. I will just say, however, it’s always a good sign when I start reading a book at 11PM and can hardly put it down by 1:30AM and am only forced to because of work the next day (work always ruins everything, doesn’t it?). There is something so clever, and quick, and charming about Renshaw’s writing. She paints her characters with ease through dialogue and interactions with one another. There was also a good amount of humour, especially at the beginning, to balance out the somber plot (and setting) of the thriller. It was just fun to read.
A thriller can’t be a thriller without being thrilling, right? And, well, as to that I would say that’s the only place that the novel loses for me. Everything is basically revealed by the middle of the book, and after that just followed predictable actions and predictable resolutions, none of which made my heart flutter. Did I still like all of it? Yes. Would I say it’s a great way to spend a wet, early spring afternoon? Absolutely. But is this the best thriller I’ve ever read? Far from it.
I think it would also make a good movie, which says something about its structure and quick pace. I’d watch it.
tl:dr this little thriller is worth your time. It’s fun, it’s moody in parts and somewhat bloody in others. It is charming, quick-paced, and definitely memorable
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