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Lost Girl Paperback – October 1, 2016
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It's 2053 and climate change has left billions homeless and starving—easy prey for the pandemics that sweep across the globe, and for the violent gangs and people-smugglers who thrive in the crumbling world where 'King Death' reigns supreme. The father's world went to hell two years ago. His four-year-old daughter was snatched when he should have been watching. The moments before her disappearance play in a perpetual loop in his mind. But the police aren't interested; who cares about one more missing child? It's all down to him to find her, him alone.
"Mrs. Rochester's Ghost" by Lindsay Marcott
In a modern and twisty retelling of Jane Eyre, a young woman must question everything she thinks she knows about love, loyalty, and murder. | Learn more
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"Nevill concocts a unique, paranoid vision of dystopian drama that's nigh impossible not to get sucked into." STARBURST.
About the Author
- Publisher : Pan Books; Main Market Ed. edition (October 1, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 144724091X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1447240914
- Item Weight : 10.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 1.1 x 7.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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What I love about this author's work is that his writing style makes me slow down as a reader, forcing me to take the time to absorb the words and images he so deftly displays. Being an American, it does take some time to fully comprehend this British master's skills, but once you do you will fully embrace the wonders (and horrors) he treats you with.
The story arch--about a father who is willing to do anything to find his missing daughter in a collapsing world--really hit me in the gut too. Being a parent myself, I easily found myself wondering what I would do in the character's situation, knowing that the love of a child would push me to these extreme limits too, or beyond. And though he finds all sorts of horrors along the way, it is the breaking of the world around him that truly frightened me, and what the future may hold for my own kids. There is so much suggested here about the world and how it will eviscerate the human race that I couldn't help but shudder at thinking of ever turning on a news channel again.
"Lost Girl" is an amazingly terrifying novel, showing us that there is more horror born of human nature than could ever be imagined in a supernatural way. And, best of all, no matter where you start reading with an Adam Nevill publication, there are connections to each and every novel, clues towards revealing a larger mystery of a 'reality' that I would never want to truly witness myself.
***5 out of 5 stars***
Lost Girl is excellent. Even though it is not scary in the traditional way, it is composited in a way very familiar to Adam's previous novels, rich with a darkness that at times made me feel claustrophobic in the way the best horror does. There is a dread, especially with the more supernatural aspects, that there is something just beyond what The Father, and you as the reader, can see, threatening at any moment to break through. Couple this with the authors excellent descriptions and characterization, and sheer talent as a writer, and you have a recipe for a darkly compelling page turner that will leave you squeezing in pages in every spare moment until the end. It's that good.
So why four stars? Mainly, it's that I felt left hanging a bit by those super natural elements. I respect what the author accomplished with the trajectory he took with the story, but I do feel like the crescendo of these elements was a little less direct that I would have preferred. I get the sense that his goal was to have the reader fill in some of the blanks and decide for himself; however, for this reader, I tend to shy away from ambiguity of concluding scenes and events. That is my taste, though, and I feel the author does wrap up every story strand fairly neatly. I just wanted more, which is a sign of how much I enjoyed Lost Girl.
Look at that, a horror lit fan enters skeptical - "is this horror?" - and comes out grinning. I've already added Last Days and No One Gets Out Alive to my To Be Read pile.
That said there were a few minor issues I had, the main one being the overabundance of time characters spent on details of the deteriorating global situation (which to me) detracted the main plot somewhat, and the abstraction of the main character whom we never seem to really get inside of. Also, I couldn't keep hoping that the deliciously creepy 'Church' the father stumbles into would turn into a more diabolical - even supernatural - part of the story.
Looking forward to reading more of his novels and suggest you do the same.
Top reviews from other countries
At the front of this driven, tense story, stands The Red Father, a parent who has suffered his own personal apocalypse, and has been forced to reinvent himself as a different character altogether - a character that stands comfortably amid the pantheon of 'Everyman Superheroes' that have popped up seemingly everywhere in movies and graphic novels in the last few years. Packed with tension and dread horror throughout, this is a must read, imo, for all lovers of this author's work. A fantastic story, easy to relate to characters, an unlikely hero, more twists and turns than the roads over the Pyrenees, unexpected plot oubliettes throughout, and all taking place in a scenario that is coming to us much quicker than we originally thought. I read it, and read it again. You should too, before you die. Outstanding, ten out of ten. More of the Red Father would be excellent...
I don’t usually read horror fiction but I was drawn to the title and once I started I couldn’t stop. A little girl goes missing. Her father goes through hell to find her. His journey, which starts after every parent’s worst nightmare one sunny afternoon when she vanishes from his garden, takes us through all the above, except it’s not happening now, it’s taking place forty years in the future.
The story’s a simple dystopian voyage of discovery – of his search for his child, and the horrors he must pass through, both in the world around him and deep in himself - in order to reach her and survive.
Was it Stephen King who said that to write horror you start somewhere bad then make it worse? The hero – if that’s what he is, given what he’s driven to do – is never named. He’s just ‘the father’. His grief and rage drive the action. The language is vivid and spare – he finds an addict, detritus scattered around him ‘like flotsam on a fetid canal’. His journey also springs surprises and by the end he discovers uncomfortable truths when roles reverse and pity and loathing mix.
The polemic drags if you’re not a card-carrying anti-capitalist – there’s a lot of stuff about corrupt big business and the timidity and the short-termism of national decision-making - but at various points it slows the action to give a welcome breather, building up the tension before each new encounter.
I’m one of those readers who always thinks the book I just put down is the best ever, so until I read the next one I’ll just say this – right now, I think everybody on the planet should read this book. You may not like it, but you’ll never forget it!
Nevill is described by the Guardian newspaper as Britain’s answer to Stephen King, so with an accolade like that I had to take a closer look. In terms of similarities, Nevill clearly shares with King a deep respect and love of words, both in terms of their richness and their placement. It is immediately obvious that this English horror writer takes his time researching, editing, re-writing and writing again until he has a novel that could be compared to a polished jewel. At no time during the reading of ‘Lost Girl’ did I find any word wasted or any description indulged in too much. In fact, Nevill’s descriptions are what set him apart from many modern horror authors as they have the power to express the depth and the darkness of the human psyche (as well as the inhuman) in fresh, compelling ways.
And so to the story. I tend not to dwell on plot descriptions in my reviews as they run the risk of producing spoilers. In any case, there are plenty of web locations where you can read the blurb to his book. However, in terms of the bare bones, Lost girl is set in England a few decades hence and from the get-go we are confronted with the horrors of a world in rapid decline due to the ravages of global warming left unchecked. I know for a fact that Nevill spent a long time reading and researching the doomsday projections that could ensue from spiralling temperature increases and the concomitant food and water shortages, social unrest, massive upheaval of populations and any number of extreme weather events. In this respect, one of the main horror elements is the rising sense of panic amongst the international community, and the increasing futility of the humanitarian response. Both are richly described as the story unfolds without resorting to the clunkiness of narrator’s info-dump that can often accompany such apocalyptic scenarios. Having a science background myself I was impressed by the authenticity of the setting and the rising sense of dread as Nevill paints a picture of society breaking apart in terms of disease containment, food production and crime running rampant.
The second element of horror is the fear which all parents have – the abduction of a child. The emotions of the father and his wife, together with the breakdown in their relationship echoes real life examples we have all read about in the UK media over the last decade.
We never learn the father’s name during the course of the story. A touch which entices any father to empathise with the agonising decisions the protagonist is forced to make. This generic father figure gives us an open door to step into the shoes of a man who has had his four year old daughter snatched away, facing an unknown fate which is only revealed at the end of the book. Through the many confrontations of this ‘Red Father’ with a trail of seedy and abhorrent characters, we see a man sucked onto a conveyer belt of barbarity and self-judgement. Don’t expect any Steven Seagal/Schwarzenegger bravado in this tale. The father is a novice in the ways of violence, with only the burning heat of his loss to sustain him.
The final element of terror is the realisation there may be another dark force taking advantage of civilisations breakdown. It is this subtle hinting and suggestion of another reality which prevents the story falling into familiar tropes. The emergence of a ‘King Death’, a ‘patron’ and a possible disciple in the form of an emaciated, drug-addled antagonist that completes the triangulation of horror. The style is reminiscent of John Connoly’s Charlie Parker stories and is masterfully handled.
Some of Nevill’s descriptive passages extend to several pages; such as the painting of urban communities coping with the influx of refugees by the million, the awkward and brutal scenes depicted as the initially naive father takes on the criminal underworld, and the surreal dreamscapes he endures as his quest leads him toward a realm that defies description. Again, this is not self-indulgent but serves to increase the intensity of the story.
This is a disturbing book – the best horror is. It will lead you to question your own world-view and where you draw your own lines in the sand regarding the issues raised. But, make no mistake; there is no preaching in this narrative, just a vision of what might be extrapolated from events we see around us today. It will entertain and provoke you. Definitely one of my top reads of 2016.
I have been a huge fan of Adam Nevill ever since he first published Banquet for the Damned. I really did think he was the best horror writer out there (except for perhaps Bill Hussey, but he seems to have given up). A couple of years ago he released the House of Small Shadows which I found genuinely scary, and this is from someone who lives and breathes supernatural horror. That book is soooooo recommended!
However, his last two books have shown a change in direction, away from supernatural horror and towards people just being downright nasty to each other. The latest offering, Lost Girl, features a nameless father searching for his kidnapped daughter and dealing with the fears of what might happen to a stolen four year old girl in a world where law and order is disintegrating and life is increasingly controlled by criminal gangs.
I have to say, most of the book is awful reading. And that is not to criticise the author, if anything the opposite. As a father myself, I found it painful reading, in that I could picture myself in the father's position and it was too awful to contemplate, and that is all down to Nevill's skill. Perhaps it didn't help (or did help) that the book is based in a world where climate change is destroying the planet, and it was released in a year with the warmest and wettest winter on record (which chime with the world of the book).
This sounds really negative, so why the five star review?
I still couldn't put the book down. Nevill is a brilliant story teller. He creates realistic worlds, full of true to life characters that you empathise with, and you are gripped to the end. I got to literally 90% of the way through this book and I was thinking that I could not work out how this would end. Sheer genius!
With all that said, I bought this book as soon as it came out, as I did the last. However, I am not sure if I will the next. Nevill seems to be departing from true supernatural horror, and while I still admire his skill as an author, I do not enjoy reading page after page of detailed torture of child molesters and drug addicts. At the end of this book I felt very positive, and I would recommend it to others, but it is certainly not for everyone. I cannot find anything to criticise about the writing, which is why this is a five star review. But be warned it is difficult reading, especially for anyone with kids
This review has taken me a while to write as honestly I am still reeling from this book. It's like NOTHING I have read this year, funny enough it was an Adam Nevill novel last year that I read that also blew me away, he truly is an exceptional author and more readers need to dip their toes into the waters of his writing.
Adam writes to engage all your senses, his descriptions are simply incredible. From one page I can feel terror and fear, disgust, smell body odours and the reek of destruction, see evil and depravity and hear the sounds of death. Literally, not kidding you.
Astounding writing. I really just want to write READ THIS BOOK and that's it for fear of not being able to get out how much this book impacted me. I am sure you get the picture by now.
How far will he go to save his daughter? How far will he go to get revenge?
It's 2053 and climate change has left billions homeless and starving - easy prey for the pandemics that sweep across the globe, scything through the refugee populations. Easy prey, too, for the violent gangs and people-smugglers who thrive in the crumbling world where 'King Death' reigns supreme.
The father's world went to hell two years ago. His four-year-old daughter was snatched from his garden when he should have been watching. The moments before her disappearance play in a perpetual loop in his mind. But the police aren't interested; amidst floods, hurricanes and global chaos, who cares about one more missing child? Now it's all down to him to find her, him alone . . .
The book is set in the not too distant future and the world quite frankly has gone to crap. Climate change (you know, that thing they have been warning us about for YEARS?) has impacted the world in a million ways and it's not a pretty sight. Man has literally destroyed the planet. Food is scarce if not unavailable for the average person, everything we take for granted now has GONE. This book educated me on the very real world we might be heading towards if everybody does not do their bit. It impacted me more than any news story or documentary. Sobering indeed, as this may not be fiction. Don't believe me? Read it and tell me what you think.
The main character is known as "The Father" as that is what he is, it's his whole world after his 4 year old daughter was abducted from the family home in broad daylight. Every parents' worst nightmare, even worse in this new hell on earth that has been created. When the case gets pushed aside by the police he has only one option - to find her himself, and stop at NOTHING to do it.
This book is dark and hard to read at times, tackling child trafficking and sex slavery, paedophile rings, people trading, drugs, gangs, warlords and wicked people. Adam is known for his horror books but whilst this has some horrific moments that had me reading and reading for more it's not traditional horror, it would appeal to fans of a lot of genres. The Father enters worlds where no man has gone before and got out alive in his relentless pursuit of answers to where his daughter is and if she is even alive. Is she suffering? He can't bear to think about it but he is fully determined to find those that took his little princess. It changes him, forever. It has to.
The characters in this book are astoundingly good, some of the dark, depraved, despots he encounters just made my skin crawl and I had a lot of moments of holding my breath, I was THERE with him, in the room, it was the best type of reading escapism ever. You will be sucked in by this book from page one and no doubt will read it in one sitting as I did, each new development just made me want more. I had to know where his daughter ended up too. I just had to know. There is one particular character that enters the pages of the book and leaves one hell of an impression, you will know him when you meet him. I loved the elements of darkness and the supernatural weaved in cleverly to give the book a unique edge.
The book is violent, be prepared, but it's now a violent world and violence speaks louder than words. A passive man will get nowhere. The levels of complexity in this book are just stunning. Again, I say it - this is an author you have to discover. I am officially his biggest fan on the planet. Rave, rave, rave, rave...
You will not believe where the book goes with it's constant twists and turns, the reveals are mind-blowing, nothing will be the same again for you after reading this book. Nothing. It's sheer genius in every way - the plot, the characters, the reveals, the writing - everything. Just bloody read the book as this review is not doing it justice. Blimey, have I got the message over yet? I am exhausted now.
6 stars, 7 stars even for this one, an absolute contender for my top spot read of 2015 announced at the end of the year. A stunning, disturbing and suitably thrilling dark novel that can't be put down.