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The Lost Children

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Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming… 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. Unti Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming… 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 an ancient 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 the asylum’s wrongs. What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s 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? An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.


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Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming… 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. Unti Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming… 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 an ancient 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 the asylum’s wrongs. What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s 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? An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

30 review for The Lost Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dash fan

    The Lost Children got my senses awakened from the very first page. It was dark and creepy and made my hairs stand on end. I knew from the first chapter I was in for a thrillingly creepy read and I wasn't disappointed! The opening scene is at the children's Moore Asylum set in 1975  It's night time and one girl is awake... she can't sleep... she senses something isn't right...she looks over to the empty bed and realises one of her friends still hasn't returned from treatment. The Lost Children got my senses awakened from the very first page. It was dark and creepy and made my hairs stand on end. I knew from the first chapter I was in for a thrillingly creepy read and I wasn't disappointed! The opening scene is at the children's Moore Asylum set in 1975  It's night time and one girl is awake... she can't sleep... she senses something isn't right...she looks over to the empty bed and realises one of her friends still hasn't returned from treatment. She wakes up her best friend who tells her off... but something just isn't right... why is there a man with a torch outside dragging a body along.... could it be there friend who hasn't yet returned?? She shoves her fist in her throat to stop herself from screaming.... in case she's next! We skip forward to present time and the Asylum has been shut down and now up for sale. The estate agent meets a potential buyer at the property. As she drives up the gates she feels uneasy. Finally the buyer arrives and she summons the courage to open the doors! Bang.... there hit by a nauseating strong smell.... a smell of a dead body... They open the door to find a body... a body that has been there a little while and what appears to be a man strapped to a bed with an instrument stabbed into he's eye. It appears a lobotomy has been performed on him. (This was a treatment used in the Asylum to treat mentally ill patients) Detective Lucy Harwin is currently undergoing therapy from work. Shes off work on extended leave due to a case that went wrong previously. When she receives a phonecall regarding the Asylum murder. She has no option but to ignore the advice of her therapist and return to work early to help. As we delve into the story more murders appear and are quickly stacking up.  It is beginning to look like the Asylum and the murders are connected in some way. Could it be revenge killings? What is the link between the Asylum and the killer? As Lucy and her partner Mattie start to investigate the murders further they start to realise the horrific extent to the secrets the Asylum walls held. They become enthralled in a chase to find out who the killer is. But in doing so puts their own lives in danger. There are flashbacks of the Asylum stories but I would of loved more. I would of liked to of learnt more about the Asylum and the children. Although this didn't stop the book from bein extremely enthralling and addictive. It gave you just enough to keep guessing. Some great little twists and edge of your seat moments. At times the hairs on my arms stood on end. This book was fast paced, darkly chilling, great characters, kept me guessing and I thoroughly loved it. This was the first book in the series so I can only imagine how good the next will be. Lucy was a great female lead detective and I can see her character going from strength to strength. She has a knack of knowing things and using her judgement. I can't wait to read more. I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for a honest and fair review via Netgalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    What can I say about this book brilliant hooked from the start, had this book on my Kindle for ages can't wait to read book two in this series, DCI Lucy harwin and Mattie,made me laugh as what a connection they have.murders from the asylum and what did happen to those poor children.brilliant characters enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Detective Lucy Harwin is still trying to recover from her last case where a mother and her child were murdered. She is now on the trail of a killer who's fixated on avenging the asylums wrongs. The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. A scandal forced its closure. Then the body of an elderly man is found, his body strapped to an ancient gurney. This is an action packed, fast paced and at times a tense read. The content is believable. A decent enough read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Ok let me start by saying the plot drew me in big time but for some reason I couldn't get into Lucy's character at all for me she was just all over he place, I found myself losing concentration on the plot line which was written with a lot of thought it kept me engaged with those poor children & what they had to endure. I think the character of Lucy could have been written better too many flaws, her daughter was going off the rails but she hardly cared the author could have written Lucy more Ok let me start by saying the plot drew me in big time but for some reason I couldn't get into Lucy's character at all for me she was just all over he place, I found myself losing concentration on the plot line which was written with a lot of thought it kept me engaged with those poor children & what they had to endure. I think the character of Lucy could have been written better too many flaws, her daughter was going off the rails but she hardly cared the author could have written Lucy more like a 30 year old than 20 something am afraid this didn't work for me at all but as I always say it how it is 4 stars for the plot line.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com This one opens with a dark, sinister prologue that instantly reels you in. It’s 1975 and there are children locked up in an asylum and things are happening that will make your hair stand on end. We then flip to present day and are introduced to Lucy, a DI who is assigned to solve a murder case where the victims body was found inside the old, forgotten asylum. Except there’s one person who never forgot the horrors that occurred there, and they want their All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com This one opens with a dark, sinister prologue that instantly reels you in. It’s 1975 and there are children locked up in an asylum and things are happening that will make your hair stand on end. We then flip to present day and are introduced to Lucy, a DI who is assigned to solve a murder case where the victims body was found inside the old, forgotten asylum. Except there’s one person who never forgot the horrors that occurred there, and they want their revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. Any good, appealing new crime series needs a solid, relatable protagonist and Lucy fits the bill to a tee. She’s freshly back on the job after a rough case forced her to take leave, and she’s immediately thrust into action as the bodies begin to pile up. Her partner, Mattie is a bit younger than her, and they balance each other out perfectly. Their chemistry was amazing and their was a real authenticity to both their personas and their work. Lucy is divorced and has a teenaged daughter, Ellie and their relationship was accurate as Ellie is a typical angsty young woman. The scenes inside the asylum were very atmospheric, you could feel the malice and tension dripping from the pages. Phifer also shared a few brief chapters from the killer and those really added something dark and menacing. This person is boastful and has no remorse, very chilling stuff. While the case itself was interesting enough, I felt the strong point of this book was that it laid a fantastic foundation for this promising series in terms of characterization. I truly feel like I got to know Lucy, Mattie and the rest of the team which just makes me all the more keen to see what happens to them next.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    THE LOST CHILDREN is the debut detective novel by author Helen Phifer, a police procedural series set in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay featuring DI Lucy Harwin. I found myself totally absorbed in the believable characters and the story. Another winner for Bookouture and this talented writer! Lucy is called back to lead a murder investigation, after being on an extended medical leave for a case that was not handled well. It has been three months since the tragic incident. As part of THE LOST CHILDREN is the debut detective novel by author Helen Phifer, a police procedural series set in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay featuring DI Lucy Harwin. I found myself totally absorbed in the believable characters and the story. Another winner for Bookouture and this talented writer! Lucy is called back to lead a murder investigation, after being on an extended medical leave for a case that was not handled well. It has been three months since the tragic incident. As part of her return to work, she had to attend counselling sessions, which she regarded as a waste of time. Lucy never mixed work with pleasure. She is separated from her husband and daughter, Ellie. We are also introduced to her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, (a little bit of growing chemistry there) who makes a nice compliment to her team. The novel opens with a scene from an asylum, The Moore Asylum in 1975, a place that was closed down in the 70s, but had been a place where difficult children/forgotten children were dumped and subjected to horrific treatment, to silence their cries. “Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…” The story then switches to the present day when an estate agent showing a potential buyer round a former mental asylum discovers a murdered body, on Ward 13 that had been lobotomised. “An elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an metal gurney... with a spike through his eye.“ But the asylum had been secure, all locked up…so how did the killer gain access? DI Lucy Harwin, and Detective Mattie Jackson begin to investigate the horrors that went on behind the walls of the asylum, with the body count rising. Four brutal murders in four days. Is there any connection between the victims? This is a game of cat and mouse with a serial killer on the loose! This is a well written creepy disturbing gripping thriller that will send chills down your spine. The pace doesn’t let up and continues to increase until the end. Don’t miss out on this amazing read. Highly recommend! Looking forward to reading the next book in the series! Many thanks to Helen Phifer, Bookouture and NetGalley, for an ARC.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helga

    What goes around comes around. An old man is found brutally murdered in the ward 13 of an abandoned asylum known as The Moore, once home (or rather a prison) to difficult, unwanted or disabled children. The police begin their investigations and when an old woman, once a nurse at the same asylum, is murdered, they realize there is a connection between the murders and the notorious asylum. A dark, intense and unsettling read, The Lost Children is the first in the Detective Lucy Harwin series What goes around comes around. An old man is found brutally murdered in the ward 13 of an abandoned asylum known as The Moore, once home (or rather a prison) to difficult, unwanted or disabled children. The police begin their investigations and when an old woman, once a nurse at the same asylum, is murdered, they realize there is a connection between the murders and the notorious asylum. A dark, intense and unsettling read, The Lost Children is the first in the Detective Lucy Harwin series. Thanks Andrea for the recommendation. x

  8. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (The Blonde Likes Books)

    In the mid 70s, 9 year old Lizzie can’t stand her younger baby brother. He’s stolen her parents attention and all he does is cry. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and smothers him with a pillow. Unable to stand looking at their daughter, her parents send her to The Moore, an insane asylum for children, where lobotomies are a common practice. Fast forward to the present day, a man is found murdered in the now abandoned asylum, and DI Lucy Harwin is called to the scene to In the mid 70s, 9 year old Lizzie can’t stand her younger baby brother. He’s stolen her parents attention and all he does is cry. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and smothers him with a pillow. Unable to stand looking at their daughter, her parents send her to The Moore, an insane asylum for children, where lobotomies are a common practice. Fast forward to the present day, a man is found murdered in the now abandoned asylum, and DI Lucy Harwin is called to the scene to investigate. Shortly after the man is found, another murder occurs, and Lucy can’t help but feel they are connected. It appears that someone is murdering people with connections to the old asylum. It’s up to Lucy to figure out who is committing the murders, and why now? As the murders escalate, Lucy finds that she too may be in danger… It’s been a while since I’ve loved a police procedural so much! I sometimes find the police work piece to be a little tedious, but this was not the case with The Lost Children. I was instantly hooked from the first chapter where we are introduced to Lizzie and the other children in the asylum, and stayed hooked through the rest of the book. The Lost Children is told primarily from Lucy’s point of view, however there are some chapters told from her partner Mattie’s point of view as well as from the killer’s. I loved having the glimpse into the killer’s mind and learning why they felt like these crimes needed to be committed. I also loved how everything tied together in the end. While I did have the ending figured out really quickly, that didn’t stop me from throughly enjoying the book. I loved the writing in the book. It was quick and flowed well, and I felt that Phifer did an excellent job of showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of each character, while maintaining separate voices for each. I sometimes feel that characters sound too much the same in books where one character is the predominant lead, and the supporting characters end up sounding the same as the protagonist, but that was not the case here. Each character felt well developed and rounded out, and I really enjoyed that. I also loved seeing where Lucy started and ended. She started the book with some issues with her daughter, love life, alcohol, and work, but ended the book in a much better place, and I really enjoyed reading that progression. The one tiny thing I didn’t love was the ending felt like it ended REALLY quickly. It was like I turned the page expecting more of a “what happens now” resolution, but the book was over. I know this is just the first book in the series, but the ending did feel a little abrupt, and I wish it had been elaborated on a little more. That said, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and see where Lucy and Mattie are headed next! Despite my small qualm with the end, I can’t find much fault in The Lost Children, and definitely recommend it for fans of thrillers and police procedurals. This was a 5 star read for me! A huge thank you to Netgalley, Helen Phifer, and Bookouture for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. The Lost Children is out now, so be sure to pick this one up now!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    For decades, The Moore, housed the children who were disabled, had mental problems, some were just unwanted by their parents. Horrendous experiments were carried out on some of theses youngsters ... you'd have to count the cemetery stones behind the hospital to know just how many. Thankfully, the hospital was closed down 40 -some years ago. Closed .. but not forgotten by everyone. Detective Lucy Harwin has been on medical leave after a case went terribly wrong. Today is her first day For decades, The Moore, housed the children who were disabled, had mental problems, some were just unwanted by their parents. Horrendous experiments were carried out on some of theses youngsters ... you'd have to count the cemetery stones behind the hospital to know just how many. Thankfully, the hospital was closed down 40 -some years ago. Closed .. but not forgotten by everyone. Detective Lucy Harwin has been on medical leave after a case went terribly wrong. Today is her first day back and she's immediately thrust into an investigation. An older man has been found in the long abandoned hospital. He's dead with what looks like an ice pick stuck in one of his eyes, very much reminiscent of having a lobotomy. *Together with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth the hospital's terrible history, and soon finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the crimes of the past.* New series ... new author for me. This is an extremely well written crime thriller. The story line is a brutal one as it involves the horrors inflicted on young children. It's actually a piece of history that we would all like to forget. This fictional story shows what could happen to the children who survive this kind of treatment. The characters are not cardboard cutouts. They come across as very human and extremely credible. Lucy is flawed and she has issues, but she is also a lot stronger than she realizes. Her partner is younger, lighter, but just as dedicated to seeing justice done for all victims. Personal Note of Interest: I found a blurb about this author stating that she is a fan of Stephen King. Sure enough, one of the characters in this book is named Dr. Stephen King. I look forward to following this author .. and this series. Many thanks to the author / Bookouture / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime thriller, Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    This is a fast paced, action packed thriller which had me riveted to the very end! It truly is a gripping thriller with superb believable characters brought to life in this enthralling story which is full of unexpected twists and turns. This is definitely a winner to me – I suggest you go read the story yourself rather than reading my review! I am so impressed with how the author brought the characters to life. The flash backs from the serial killer add to the angst and are a brillian This is a fast paced, action packed thriller which had me riveted to the very end! It truly is a gripping thriller with superb believable characters brought to life in this enthralling story which is full of unexpected twists and turns. This is definitely a winner to me – I suggest you go read the story yourself rather than reading my review! I am so impressed with how the author brought the characters to life. The flash backs from the serial killer add to the angst and are a brilliant way of filling in their back story. The lead investigator is Detective Lucy Harwin and the details of her turmoil after her previous case, the adultery of her ex-husband and the rebellious nature of their teenage daughter are all significant factors in the unfolding drama which starts with the discovery of a murdered elderly man, strapped to a gurney in the abandoned Moore Asylum, a so-called hospital where children were imprisoned if thought to be mentally ill until scandal forced it to be closed down. As Lucy returns to work with her partner Matthew (Mattie) Jackson, secrets from the past regarding the mistreatment of children are slowly revealed – but not in time to prevent other people becoming victims of the serial killer . . . . and Lucy, herself, could also be one of the killer’s targets. Thank you to Bookouture for agreeing to my request by gifting me a copy of this superb novel via NetGalley without any obligations. I chose to read it and this is my honest opinion after doing so. If you enjoy great police investigations, serial murder thrillers or a really well crafted story, don’t miss this exceptional story. I'll definitely be looking out for more in this series or by this author in future!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    The Lost Children is a debut detective novel by Helen Phifer , featuring DI Lucy Harwin On DI Lucy first day back from work she comes across a heinous murder committed in an asylum that has been closed down for many years. The asylum was a place for troubled children and horrible crimes were committed against them . It finally shut down after a scandal but somebody is bent on taking revenge against the people who ran that place .DI Lucy and her team are on the case and piece by piece the horrors The Lost Children is a debut detective novel by Helen Phifer , featuring DI Lucy Harwin On DI Lucy first day back from work she comes across a heinous murder committed in an asylum that has been closed down for many years. The asylum was a place for troubled children and horrible crimes were committed against them . It finally shut down after a scandal but somebody is bent on taking revenge against the people who ran that place .DI Lucy and her team are on the case and piece by piece the horrors that the kids went through in the asylum are slowly revealed. It’s a great start to the police procedural series with believable characters. A few twists , fast read and will definitely look forward to more in the series. Many thanks to Bookouture & NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review. This and more reviews at https://chloesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)

    On her first day back to work after her last case ended in a devastating murder, Lucy Harwin is thrown into another case where a ruthless killer seems to be out to get everyone who did wrong back when The Moore Asylum was open. Past blends with the present as Lucy must figure out what had happened in the Asylum all those years ago and who would be responsible in committing such brutal murders before they strike again. I don’t know how to feel about this book. It started out strong and On her first day back to work after her last case ended in a devastating murder, Lucy Harwin is thrown into another case where a ruthless killer seems to be out to get everyone who did wrong back when The Moore Asylum was open. Past blends with the present as Lucy must figure out what had happened in the Asylum all those years ago and who would be responsible in committing such brutal murders before they strike again. I don’t know how to feel about this book. It started out strong and interesting. I liked the flash back to the past and learning about the Asylum, even thought what they did to those kids made my stomach turn it was weaving to be an interesting ARC. Half way through the flashbacks stopped prematurely I feel and I never got the feel scope of why the killer decided to avenge, I felt like we did not get the full story of what drove the killer and the author probably should have stuck with it. On top of it, I did not really know how Lucy came to the conclusion of who the murderer is because I felt like it could have been a number of people from the flashbacks. This of course leads back to me feeling like that particular part was left undeveloped. There was also one clue that threw me off, because when we get the murders perspective, the second murder smelled aftershave, which you would assume is usually associated with a man? I also wished the characters were more likable, but outside of Mattie – Lucy’s partner – who I tolerated, everyone else was really hard to like. Lucy in particular was hard to like. She is a workaholic who spends a lot of time focusing on her work, which is expected with the type of work she is doing. But Lucy also drinks a lot and has a really rocky relationship with her teenage daughter. There was one scene in particular that made me dislike Lucy more when she came home to a ransacked bedroom and automatically assumed that her teenage daughter was responsible for it. Based on what? Her daughter does not live with her. So she drives to her ex-husband’s house and lays into her daughter without bothering to give her even one brief benefit of a doubt. Lucy started to become redeemable at the end as she did her best to fix her relationship with her daughter, but I wasn’t sure I was feeling her character anymore. The story does feel like you are thrown into a middle of the series because Lucy is in the middle of a therapy session after her last case goes haywire. Unfortunately, we only get bits and pieces of this later on in the book. Overall the plot could have been more interesting, a killer taking out revenge from the past? Sure. Flashback to the Asylum? Sure. But it all somehow fell flat in the end and a bit underdeveloped. I enjoyed myself when I wasn’t frustrated but it could have been so much more and it wasn’t.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    I really, really wanted to like this book, but for me were there just too many things that bothered me to truly enjoy reading this book. The Lost Children started off great, with the discovery of a dead body in the old asylum and I enjoyed the flashbacks during the books progress to 1975 when young Lizzy is committed to the asylum. I was intrigued by the story and wondered what the past had to do with the present murder. However, I started to feel a bit annoyed with Detective Lucy Harwin as the I really, really wanted to like this book, but for me were there just too many things that bothered me to truly enjoy reading this book. The Lost Children started off great, with the discovery of a dead body in the old asylum and I enjoyed the flashbacks during the books progress to 1975 when young Lizzy is committed to the asylum. I was intrigued by the story and wondered what the past had to do with the present murder. However, I started to feel a bit annoyed with Detective Lucy Harwin as the story progressed, especially her private life. Her ex-husband had left her for another woman, and to be honest can I understand him and I can also understand why their daughter wanted to live with him instead of Lucy. Lucy, in my opinion, acted more like a woman in her early twenties than her thirties. The worst thing is that I felt the same about Mattie, and yes he is a few years younger than Lucy, but it felt like they were adolescents not grown adults working as cops. And Mattie's crush on Lucy did not amuse me either. Then we have the case, it was just too predictable and Lucy made some extraordinary leaps in the investigations that astonished me. I mean the kind of "I have no evidence to support this, but I think this is right since I'm clairvoyant, so let's go for it. No, she's not clairvoyant, but there were moments when I honestly thought she was since everything could be normal, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong and of course it was. Then, we have the killers identity, no big surprise there either. The part I like the best was the flashbacks to asylum if the book had focused more on the past and the girls there and had a stronger case with more mature characters would I have loved this book. This book had potentials and the first half of the book is good, but the later half just didn't work for me so much. I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

  14. 4 out of 5

    sue

    Another book from my backlist challenge this year. Personal goal. Oh boy what can I say. This book is creepy, it’s age of your seat amazing work. I’m onto book 2

  15. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Dooley

    Another excellent debut female detective story. I'm on a bit of a role at the moment with these. The Lost Children introduces us to Detective Lucy Harwin and her team. We meet her as she is just returning to work after being on extended leave after an operation went horribly wrong. She is straight back into it as a mans body is found in the local, now derelict Moore Asylum. A place that closed in the mid 70s but was a place where the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay were placed. The troublesom Another excellent debut female detective story. I'm on a bit of a role at the moment with these. The Lost Children introduces us to Detective Lucy Harwin and her team. We meet her as she is just returning to work after being on extended leave after an operation went horribly wrong. She is straight back into it as a mans body is found in the local, now derelict Moore Asylum. A place that closed in the mid 70s but was a place where the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay were placed. The troublesome or unruly children from all around the country ended up there. We begin the book with some of the children of Moore Asylum and their horrendous experiences there. Eventually closed, the horrors are slowly revealed through flashback throughout the book and it soon becomes clear to Lucy, as the murders continue, that this is a revenge mission from someone that was a patient at Moore Asylum. Herself and her sidekick Detective Mattie Jackson try to piece together the lost history of the place and the hidden horrors of its past before more murders are committed and as they get closer to the truth their own safety becomes less and less secured. I really really liked this book. It sets off at a cracking pace and doesn't let up throughout. If anything the pace is even ramped up further in the last few chapters to reach a very satisfying end. Lucy is yet another damaged troubled female detective(these seem to be flavour of the moment for writers of this genre) but she is very well written, interesting and doesn't feel cliched at all. She's a bit of an old fashioned detective where she relies on her instinct to lead the way in her investigations. She is separated from her husband and estranged from her daughter, a little too fond of her wine, her job is her life. Her sidekick Mattie is equally well written and they make a great pairing as an undercurrent of sexual tension between the two of them bubbles underneath throughout. It's a really good story that is very well told. I was totally drawn into the world of Lucy and Brooklyn Bay and look forward to reading and going on further adventures. I'd highly recommend this if you are a fan of the genre. I would like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and Helen Phifer for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    The Lost Children is the first book in a new police procedural series. We are introduced to Lucy and her colleagues which sets the tone for the next instalments. The first chapter tells us of some of the children who were patients at the asylum in the seventies. One of the children disappears from the ward and nine year old Lizzy quickly realises what happened to him. The case the detectives are working on starts out most intriguingly. When a body is found in the abandoned The Lost Children is the first book in a new police procedural series. We are introduced to Lucy and her colleagues which sets the tone for the next instalments. The first chapter tells us of some of the children who were patients at the asylum in the seventies. One of the children disappears from the ward and nine year old Lizzy quickly realises what happened to him. The case the detectives are working on starts out most intriguingly. When a body is found in the abandoned asylum, it doesn't take long for them to find a connection to the past. Can the killer be stopped before they strike again? I must admit, I'm a little disappointed in this book. The blurb sounded right up my alley but it didn't deliver for me. I found it quite predictable, not helped by some chapters from the killer's point of view, which pretty much gave everything away. Lucy seems to have some sort of sixth sense. She has all the ideas and solutions, making decisions without involving her boss. The answers sometimes just drop into her lap instead of being the result of hard-hitting investigative work. It's a little hard to explain but it just didn't work for me. There are a few other things that bothered me but I can't go into detail about those because that would involve revealing half the plot. I also would have preferred to learn a lot more about the circumstances of the children back in the day. As it is, there are a few mentions of what life was like for them but nothing too profound or in-depth. Things happened that could have done with an explanation but that never came. Then along the way, the story started to focus more on Lucy's private life which completely threw me off. While I understand character development is important when setting up a new series, the asylum storyline had so much more potential that I feel was left unfulfilled. Nevertheless, it's a quick read and there are worse ways to be spending an afternoon. I would like to thank Bookouture and Netgalley for my advanced copy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a bookouture book yet - this is a strong thriller which although disturbing is another good one to put on your list. There is something chilling about asylums and mental hospitals - thank goodness we don’t treat fellow human beings in this way anymore but the asylum here operated in the 1970s and introduces you to a world of horror and despair. There’s always something worse about the ill treatment of children and this did make I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a bookouture book yet - this is a strong thriller which although disturbing is another good one to put on your list. There is something chilling about asylums and mental hospitals - thank goodness we don’t treat fellow human beings in this way anymore but the asylum here operated in the 1970s and introduces you to a world of horror and despair. There’s always something worse about the ill treatment of children and this did make me screw my face up in disgust on more than one occasion - I admit to skipping a few paragraphs - but the writing was so vivid and strong that I had to keep going. The man found on the gurney, the intricate police work - this is a novel with layers. The pacing really shone here as present day mixed with flashbacks - perfect for seeing the horrors of the past - you were often ahead of the police but then were you? The writing pulled and pushed me as a reader and seems very different to the police procedure style of reveals. This is book one. When I’ve managed to settle my stomach, I will definitely be getting book two.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Book Addict Shaun

    I love a new crime series, especially when it’s published by Bookouture, so I went into The Lost Children with great excitement. I started it late one night and just wanted to read on and on because the opening was so strong. It’s atmospheric, sets the scene brilliantly and just hooks you right in. Helen Phifer writes with real emotion in her words. The scenes within the old asylum back in 1975 are haunting. Compare that with the scene in the present day of one of the doctors killed inside the a I love a new crime series, especially when it’s published by Bookouture, so I went into The Lost Children with great excitement. I started it late one night and just wanted to read on and on because the opening was so strong. It’s atmospheric, sets the scene brilliantly and just hooks you right in. Helen Phifer writes with real emotion in her words. The scenes within the old asylum back in 1975 are haunting. Compare that with the scene in the present day of one of the doctors killed inside the abandoned asylum and it becomes quite a creepy and eery read. The asylum in 1975 was on its way out, the last few patients being children. We, the reader, learns that some of the children witnessed a murder and a cover-up by the staff and it’s these staff members who are being killed in the present day. As a reader knowing what these staff members did it made me not really feel any sympathy for them. Abusing your position as a nurse and doctor in this way deserves some kind of punishment. Is that punishment murder? Well... Either way I guess it could be said that it’s easy to understand why they would be killed. Unfortunately for Lucy Harwin she first views the victims as innocent old pensioners, shocked that someone could possibly want to kill them. One would assume as a hardened police officer she would know that people getting killed in such gruesome ways is always personal, regardless of age. Lucy is a fantastic character. With so many crime series out there at the minute I think it can be hard for an author to create a character with real originality and somebody that stands out. Lucy does stand out despite having a wayward teenager and an ex-husband to contend with (this is fictional crime after all we can’t possibly have happily married characters) and a tiny drink problem, she was an enjoyable character to read about and I especially liked her relationship with her team, especially her partner Mattie. Who, Lucy’s daughter describes as looking like Tom Hardy when he was Reggie Kray in Legend (so, sexy AF then). Easy to see why Lucy has a bit of a soft spot for him. He was equally an interesting character and I’m excited to see the developments between this pairing in the future. The plot moves at a nice enough pace. The murders are very gruesome which I always love in crime fiction and I felt that (most of the realism like paperwork etc pushed aside for the purposes of entertainment) that the team did a believable job and I enjoyed following along with the investigation. Unfortunately (for me at least) it was around the 65% mark when I worked out who the killer was going to be. It did detract from my enjoyment a little bit because it ruined the suspense for me and when the reveal arrived it wasn’t a surprise for me. Other than that I can’t find any faults with this story and it’s the start of what is looking to be a fantastic series. The setting of Brooklyn Bay is well-imagined and I am looking forward to seeing it utilised in future stories. There’s lots of room for development here and this is a series that we will hopefully be seeing for a few more books yet. The working out of the plot twist aside, I highly recommend The Lost Children and I am moving straight on to the second book because I loved my time with Lucy and Mattie and can’t wait to continue their story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dee Ryan

    This book is a really fast paced read. It flips between two times, current day and the 70's. The majority of the 1970s text is based in a children's "hospital" which is basically the asylum where they put children with learning difficulties and other problems. When a body is found strapped to a trolley in the now abandoned and run down asylum DCI Lucy and her team have to work out the who what and when. The bodies start to stack up and the common thread that runs between the murders is the asylu This book is a really fast paced read. It flips between two times, current day and the 70's. The majority of the 1970s text is based in a children's "hospital" which is basically the asylum where they put children with learning difficulties and other problems. When a body is found strapped to a trolley in the now abandoned and run down asylum DCI Lucy and her team have to work out the who what and when. The bodies start to stack up and the common thread that runs between the murders is the asylum. Add to this the fantastic chemistry between Lucy and Mattie and you've got yourself a book that will make you forget to feed yourself (I like to call these kinds of books slimming aids)....a cracker of a read and half a stone lighter! The characters were totally believable and I really invested a lot in them. There were so many plot twists in this book I almost got dizzy. Helen Phifer has created a book that drags you in by the head and the heart. Highly reccomend

  20. 4 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Amazing! This book was brilliant from start to finish! Fast paced, with many twists, a taut plot with tense, page turning, heart stopping thrills, this was an unputdownable, addictive read. Lucy Harwin is real and so relatable - the author has a way of putting us in Lucy's shoes, so we are partaking of the action, feeling and living and hurting along with her. Love this author and cannot wait for the next book in this fabulous series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sam (Clues and Reviews)

    The Lost Children, by Helen Phifer, is the first novel in a brand new crime thriller series that will follow Detective Lucy Harwin. Although I’ve been struggling with police procedural type novels lately, this one was exciting to me for several reasons. To start, when Bookouture publishes a book, I fall in line. They really are a stellar publisher and I have enjoyed everything I have read by their company. Helen Phifer had also been on my radar for quite some time after I saw a glowing review fo The Lost Children, by Helen Phifer, is the first novel in a brand new crime thriller series that will follow Detective Lucy Harwin. Although I’ve been struggling with police procedural type novels lately, this one was exciting to me for several reasons. To start, when Bookouture publishes a book, I fall in line. They really are a stellar publisher and I have enjoyed everything I have read by their company. Helen Phifer had also been on my radar for quite some time after I saw a glowing review for her book, The Good Sisters. I was glad to read a novel published by an author I had heard so many things about. Finally, I was filled with relief when I found out that this novel was the first in the Detective Lucy Harwin series. I can never fully connect with a protagonist until I have read the entire series, and unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to do that. So this one was high up on my priority list. It did not disappoint. The Lost Children had me entertained and on edge. Following a similar formula to the police procedural genre, the novel opens and introduces Detective Lucy Harwin. Coming back from a leave, she is quick to jump in and prove herself. Her “sidekick”, Mattie harbours some serious feelings for her (and I’m thinking this will prove to be some sort story arc eventually). A body has been found in an abandoned children’s asylum and it’s up to Lucy to find the perpetrator. The narrative style of this one was unique, instead of a back and forth type of narration between the present and the past, Phifer would reveal a tidbit during the investigation in the present and then the novel would flash back to the time of the asylum and tell the story. This was so clever and really held my interest, especially since this didn’t happen every chapter. Phifer is clearly a phenomenal author and I will absolutely go and read more of her work. However, there were a few moments that I didn’t love about this novel. For one, there were a couple instances where the POV would abruptly shift to another character without much warning or a page break; mind you, this could be an issue with my Kindle edition but I felt it to be very distracting. I also felt as if the ending was rather abrupt. I was right in the middle of the action and then all of a sudden it was over and all wrapped up neatly. Regardless, of my small critiques, this one was absolutely entertaining and I will be anxiously awaiting the next in the series. I gave it a 3.5/5 stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shawna P.

    It's been a few days since I actually read this and I honestly have forgotten most of it. The thing is, even after I read it, it wasn't very memorable. I base my ratings on how much a book distracts me from life, how much I recall of it and whether or not I was willing to put it down or not. I love books involving asylums and whatnot. This book sounded like it would be right up my alley. Lizzy is a patient in this asylum when she witnesses something horrible occur one night. Decades later, the a It's been a few days since I actually read this and I honestly have forgotten most of it. The thing is, even after I read it, it wasn't very memorable. I base my ratings on how much a book distracts me from life, how much I recall of it and whether or not I was willing to put it down or not. I love books involving asylums and whatnot. This book sounded like it would be right up my alley. Lizzy is a patient in this asylum when she witnesses something horrible occur one night. Decades later, the asylum is closed and everything is all fine and dandy, until murders begin to happen. Let's talk about the pros and cons of this book. Pros I really enjoyed getting to know Detective Lucy Harwin and her past. Parts of the book were very atmospheric and you could feel the terror. The teenage daughter was really well described...your typical teenage girl with some angst. Cons The "twist" wasn't as shocking as I wanted. Too much focusing on Lucy and her coworkers, and not enough of the asylum. (Present). Lucy came of as a little bit of a playa...she has her ex husband, her coworker, and some other random dudes all in her roster. It honestly sidetracked from the story. Ok, don't shoot the messenger, but this book reminded me a bit too much of parts of V for Vendetta. and Silent Scream. 3.5 stars in my book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue McQuaide Kitt

    Wow, what a brilliant book that I found very hard to put down. Helen Phifer is a new author to me and what a great find. In the description of this book, The Lost Children was said to appeal to fans of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott and I 100% agree. In the 1970’s The Moore Asylum was closed down, taking it’s shocking secrets with the closure until a body was found in ward 13 that had been lobotomised. DI Lucy Harwin her partner Detective Mattie Jackson are bo Wow, what a brilliant book that I found very hard to put down. Helen Phifer is a new author to me and what a great find. In the description of this book, The Lost Children was said to appeal to fans of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott and I 100% agree. In the 1970’s The Moore Asylum was closed down, taking it’s shocking secrets with the closure until a body was found in ward 13 that had been lobotomised. DI Lucy Harwin her partner Detective Mattie Jackson are both such wonderful and believable characters that now belong on my list of favourites and I can’t wait to read more from this dynamic duo. The Lost Children is a fast paced, full of suspense and a real page turner. A massive 5* thriller and a brilliant start to a new series. Roll on book two.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    First I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for my ARC copy for a fair and honest review. I have to say lately I have been addicted to British police procedural/thrillers and this one definitely did not disappoint! DI Lucy Harwin and DS Mattie Jackson are probably two of my favourite characters lately. They are both complicated characters, with DI Harwin be not only complex, but humanly flawed and therefore very believable. The characters are well developed th First I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for my ARC copy for a fair and honest review. I have to say lately I have been addicted to British police procedural/thrillers and this one definitely did not disappoint! DI Lucy Harwin and DS Mattie Jackson are probably two of my favourite characters lately. They are both complicated characters, with DI Harwin be not only complex, but humanly flawed and therefore very believable. The characters are well developed throughout the novel making it easy to become invested in their wellbeing. The storyline is very fast paced and easy to follow. It takes place in Brooklyn Bay, where the local Asylum, which had be closed since the 1970's is about to be sold and redeveloped. That's where the first body is found and the link to the murderer and the victims. I'm not about to reveal the killer, but will admit the author did a good job leading you in the right direction. I did figure it out earlier on in the story, but the author kept the excitement going right through until the end. I can't wait to read the next DI Lucy Harwin novel and find out what happens to the her and the other great characters in the book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for an advance copy of The Lost Children, the first in a projected series of police procedurals set in the fictional coastal town of Brooklyn Bay to feature DI Lucy Harwin. The novel opens with a scene from a hospital in 1975 and then cuts to the present day when an estate agent showing a potential buyer round a former mental asylum discovers a murdered body. DI Lucy Harwin is called back from medical leave to lead the investigation but it takes on I would like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for an advance copy of The Lost Children, the first in a projected series of police procedurals set in the fictional coastal town of Brooklyn Bay to feature DI Lucy Harwin. The novel opens with a scene from a hospital in 1975 and then cuts to the present day when an estate agent showing a potential buyer round a former mental asylum discovers a murdered body. DI Lucy Harwin is called back from medical leave to lead the investigation but it takes on a life of its own as the body count rises, there are no suspects and precious few clues. The plot is not particularly profound - it is the straightforward hunt for a killer with Lucy having all the theories and ideas, most of which turn out to be true and a subplot of her troubled relationship with her teenaged daughter. It is, however, quite an exciting read, especially towards the end which is action packed. With its flashbacks to the events of 1975 and occasional switches to the unnamed killer's point of view the reader is much better informed than the police. This is not my preferred format as I like to live the investigation with the police but it is well done and not overly intrusive. It's sad to say but I had no problem believing what went on in the hospital. The characters are, at first glance, fairly stereotypical. Lucy is undergoing mandated therapy after a case ended badly three months previously. She is driven and dedicated to the detriment of her relationship with her daughter and she drinks too much and eats junk food (no mention of doughnuts but plenty of cake eating). Her wingman is DS Matthew "Mattie" Jackson, also smart and dedicated and content to play second fiddle to Lucy. They are close and their friendship brings a warmth to the novel the subject matter doesn't allow. The Lost Children is an easy way to pass a few hours so I have no hesitation in recommending it as a good read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Selina Trafford

    I enjoyed this book. The police investigation and the characters seemed real. The character Heidi a bit odd understandably and I couldn't wait to get to the end to see what happened. The ending for me seemed a bit of an anticlimax as I felt it was a bit abrupt. I think thats because I like a reason for actions actions and there didn't seem to be one. I would let that comment stop you from reading this book as it was a super read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lady Delacour

    What a pleasant surprise!!! Enjoyed the stories predictability as well as it's unpredictability. Picked this book because of the narrators lovely voice. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie Lacey

    Wow! What a great book. I really like the main character Detective Lucy Harwin - and her relationship with her colleague Mattie is intriguing. This was a really gripping read and one that I raced through so I could find out what happened next. This is a great start to a new series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    Back in April, I put my auto-approval with Bookouture to good use, and downloaded this on Netgalley... and it sat for months waiting for me to read it while I read other books instead. I finally opened it up last week, and just like that, I've found a new series and author to love! In my opinion, some of the best books (regardless of genre and sub-genre) use an old, abandoned asylum as a backdrop for the action. You can't pick a creepier setting that than... your imagination sparks images of sorts of thing Back in April, I put my auto-approval with Bookouture to good use, and downloaded this on Netgalley... and it sat for months waiting for me to read it while I read other books instead. I finally opened it up last week, and just like that, I've found a new series and author to love! In my opinion, some of the best books (regardless of genre and sub-genre) use an old, abandoned asylum as a backdrop for the action. You can't pick a creepier setting that than... your imagination sparks images of sorts of things that might have happened there before you even crack open the book. They give books an ambience that can't be achieved in other settings, and is used to particularly chilling effect in crime thrillers. Helen Phifer puts all of this to use in The Lost Children, creating a story about a place—the Moore Asylum—whose past is as horrifying as the murder that takes place there decades after its closure. It's the first of several murders connected to the asylum, and it's up to Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin to figure out who the killer is and put an end to the bloodshed. Lucy Harwin is fabulously flawed. Her relationship with her daughter is rocky, and she's a workaholic with a tendency to drink too much at times in order to forget the horrific things she sees on the job. She struggles with the guilt she feels over victims she was unable to save, holding herself responsible whether she is or not. The woman has issues, but she's tough as nails when it comes to her job, and fiercely protective of the people she loves. There are occasional flashbacks to the mid-1970s, which are told through one of three point of view: children who were patients in the asylum, a doctor at the asylum, and a nurse who worked on Ward 13—the children's ward. It was fascinating to see the asylum through the eyes of people who worked, or were patients, there. The abandoned asylum of the present day is creepy, but what happened before the asylum closed is the stuff of nightmares. I was able to figure out a couple of things before they were revealed in the story, but it didn't affect the rating I've chosen to give this book because there were a couple of things I didn't see coming that were fantastic and really added to the story. I can't wait to read more about Lucy Harwin! I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Wilson

    I am a fan of the author's previous series, so couldn't wait to see what she had come up with in this book. I now eagerly await the next one in this new series. I love police procedural stories and this one didn't disappoint. The story is based in an old asylum, and jumps between the present day and the past. We learn exactly what happened to some of the children who were sent there and it doesn't make for easy reading. The way they were treated was horrific and the way the author des I am a fan of the author's previous series, so couldn't wait to see what she had come up with in this book. I now eagerly await the next one in this new series. I love police procedural stories and this one didn't disappoint. The story is based in an old asylum, and jumps between the present day and the past. We learn exactly what happened to some of the children who were sent there and it doesn't make for easy reading. The way they were treated was horrific and the way the author describes everything had me imagining the scenes as I was reading. Trying to piece together why certain people are being targeted isn't overly difficult, given what we learn about the asylums terrible past, but figuring out who is doing it was far more difficult. The characters are written very well, the story kept me gripped all the way through, and I found myself reading this in one sitting. I honestly couldn't put the story down once I started. I can't wait to see what the author brings us next. Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing a copy.

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