Book Review: The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1) by Helen Phifer


For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now - when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to a gurney...

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?


Review
I am so excited to be reviewing Helen Phifer's brand-new & FIRST release with the fabulous Bookouture team today on Hummingbird Reviews. The Lost Children is the first in Phifer's Detective Lucy Harwin series, and if the first book in the series is anything to go by, then I feel that the rest of it is going to be very promising indeed.

In Helen Phifer's The Lost Children, the disturbing and chilling tone of this novel is set immediately as Phifer opens with a very strange, rather unnerving prologue set in October, 1975, and this tone of evilness, of corruption is present right the way through. In the prologue, we are first introduced to The Moore Asylum, an imposing and haunting building, as well as a couple of characters who are being kept there. It isn't long before the identities of these children begin to surface, and become more prominent and real, and it isn't long before Phifer drags us back to the present day where the action is about to kick off. During a viewing of The Moore Asylum, an estate agent and potential buyer stumble across a corpse, shut away behind double-doors in the dark asylum. One call is all takes and it isn't long before Detective Lucy Harwin steps foot on the scene, ready to unravel the mystery behind such a shocking and grotesque discovery.

Phifer has plotted such a teasing and twisting novel in her debut with Bookouture, and crafted such a strong and likeable heroine in Lucy Harwin. Lucy is only just returning to work when the call comes through about the discovery of the corpse at The Moore Asylum, but it is received happily, meaning that Lucy can leave her appointment with psychologist, Sara Cross, which is part of the plan for her return to work, after a heart-breaking incident in which Lucy was involved. Lucy does not see the point of the meetings. Telling someone else the thoughts that circle her mind is not going to help her get better, so why bother? She's a tough woman. Strong. Independent. If anyone can help her, it's herself. She's dealt with some pretty tough things in her life, and she'll deal with this too.

Following on from the beginning of the investigation, which soon takes a harrowing turn towards murder, Lucy is tugged into a mess so much bigger than she first assumed lied behind the killing in the asylum. From here, alongside her colleague Mattie, she is dragged deeper and deeper into the asylum's history and begins to uncover long-hidden secrets and shocking truths about the place now covered in crime-scene tape. The crime in the present goes back much further than Lucy originally thought possible, and it seems that the more she uncovers, the more horrific the truths are that begin to reveal themselves.

This was a dark, chilling and stomach-churning read by Helen Phifer, posing the question, how far will a person go in order to exact their revenge? With The Moore Asylum constantly lurking in the periphery of this story, coupled with simmering suspense and plenty of sneaky suspicions, I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent alongside Lucy Harwin, dearly hoping that she would crack this case before any more lives were lost. It was gripping, creepy and a fantastically thrilling start to a brand-new series I really can't wait to read more of. Let's see what else is in store for you, Detective Lucy Harwin!

Hummingbird Reviews is awarding The Lost Children by Helen Phifer with four out of five stars. Roll on the next book in this series. I, for one, can't wait to see what is next. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.


About the author

Helen lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children and has done since she was born. It gets some bad press, but really is a lovely place to live. Surrounded by coastline and not far from the beautiful Lake District. She has always loved writing and reading, she loves reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read, she decided to write her own.

Her debut novel 'The Ghost House' was published by Carina UK in October 2013 and went on to become a best seller along with the rest of the Annie Graham series.


You can find Helen Phifer on Twitter.
You can purchase your copy of The Lost Children here.

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