Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Girl You Lost – Kathryn Croft

Psychological Thriller 2*s
Psychological Thriller

The synopsis to this book is captivating, after all having your six month old baby snatched is horrific but how does a mother react when eighteen years later a young woman turns up claiming to be that daughter?

Simone Porter is a successful journalist, married to Matt, a doctor, their lives would be enviable if it weren’t for the fact that their daughter was still missing, eighteen years later following her abduction in a local park. Despite a massive police operation, no trace of Helena but then a girl called Grace turns up telling Simone she’s her missing daughter and the couple dare to hope that she really is.

Unfortunately I didn’t really believe in this story which meant that I read it with far more critical eyes than it is designed for. This is a real problem for psychological thrillers, especially now the stakes have been set so high. Lots of readers really enjoyed this book, and I can see that if you’ve bought into the storyline then it will make for an action-packed read but, and here’s the clincher, if like me, you stop early on and think that you simply don’t believe that anyone would make the decisions that Simone made, then as the story unfolds because it is built on a shaky premise, everyone’s actions are viewed from the same angle.

In the end because of the stance taken early on I had a problem with most aspects of this book. I didn’t believe any of the characters, which isn’t the same as disliking them, they simply did not behave in a credible way. The plot unfolds with twists and turns which were either so far-fetched they were ridiculous or were sign-posted from far away. This wasn’t helped that I’d guessed a big part of the ending fairly early on and in this instance it ruined any of the surprises that were to come. Maybe this is because I’ve overdosed lately on the genre and need to give it a break.

All in all this was a disappointing read as I loved the author’s previous book The Girl With No Past, and having read other reviews of this book, I am definitely in the minority in my opinions. This is a psychological thriller with some seriously nasty characters and the book quickly takes quite a disturbing turn. There are excerpts from an unknown man which literally made my flesh crawl – be warned if you are of a sensitive nature despite the seemingly domestic nature of the premise, this delves into the psyche of some seriously depraved people.

I’d like to thank the publishers Book Outure for allowing me to read a copy of this book before the publication date of today, 5 February 2016.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

18 thoughts on “The Girl You Lost – Kathryn Croft

  1. Interesting, thoughtful review. I’m reading a lot of praise for this book at the moment. But I’ve noticed lately that there are a number of books that other people are raving about which I only think are all right. As you mention, perhaps I too have read too many psychological thrillers and need a little break.


  2. As always, I appreciate your candor, Cleo. And I agree: if you don’t ‘buy into’ the premise or the characters, then it’s hard to get drawn into the action. Even if the story is told well, I think that that sort of credibility is important.


  3. I definitely hear what you are saying. I think sometimes when we read a lot of books that unfold in a particular manner or that have similar themes, it’s gets easier and easier to predict or guess what might happen. We’re experienced in the usual clues, etc. Psychological thrillers are certainly the flavor of the moment and the ‘missing child’, ‘missing baby turns up later’, ‘abandoned wife/child/friend’ themes are everywhere. Isn’t it funny how that happens? And if I read one more comparison to the ‘Girl’ books (Gone Girl, Girl On The Train), I may scream. Probably why I’m planning on turning to the gothic novels and graphic novels right now. A little something different.


    1. I think you are quite right – last year I read an awful lot of psychological thrillers but they are a victim of their own success – like you I hate the comparisons to the best-selling of the genre! My split this year has been far more towards ‘straight’ crime fiction although no doubt I will continue to pick the odd psychological thriller because the good ones, are really good!


  4. I loved The Girl with No Past…so how disappointing this one must be. I don’t like a story with characters that don’t behave in a credible manner, and that nasty “unknown man” sounds like a definite killer of any good vibes. I think I will skip this one…thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Laurel, it was the lack of credibility that put me off this one and once I started questioning it all unravelled. I think quite a few books in this genre depend on you getting hooked and then rolling with the punches but as I found it doesn’t work if you don’t get hooked.


  5. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as you’d hoped! Yes, I think it’s easy to overdose on any genre if we’re not careful, and eventually it gets harder to find a book that meets our expectations. This would be a great time for you to get into sci-fi! 😉


  6. I’m one of those who really enjoyed this one, but I know what you mean – I’ve had a few books lately where I couldn’t accept the stupid things the main character has done. Still love that we can all have such different views of the same book.


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