Marie Hannah has long been one of my favourite Authors. Until her Kate Daniels series I was not much of a fan of British Crime fiction, but once I read The Murder Wall she had me hooked.
Mari changed tack and started a new series a couple of years ago, with The Silent Room, and I was worried, until I read it, that it wouldn’t be as good as the Daniels books.
Now she is starting a fresh again. This time with the first book in the Oliver and Stone Series.
The Lost introduces us to DS Frank (Frances) Stone. The third generation of Police Officer in her family, following her father and grandfather. She is a no nonsense brash but likeable officer.
DI David Stone is a more complex character. Returning to his home county of Northumbria, after a successful career in the Met, he has taken a reduction of rank to move home. He carries a secret that haunts him to the point of distracting him. Moving up from London he has moved into his late grandmother’s cottage which can best be described as near derelict, but he shows no signs of renovating. Is he here to stay, is he punishing himself, is it an excuse to keep people at bay from his personal life.
Working with Frank Oliver keeping people at bay is going to be very difficult. She is fiercely loyal, but wants to know everything.
The first case they work together is complex. A young boy goes missing whilst his mom is on holiday with her sister. The boys stepfather is supposed to be looking after him. When the au-pair and stepfather both think the other is picking the boy up from football practice he goes missing, and the stepdad has no choice but to report it to the police.
It’s not a case Stone’s team would usually be involved with but Oliver convinces him to take it on.
What follows is a series of crimes based around the family. A family where nobody seems able, or willing, to tell the truth. The mother is a controlling figure who looks down on her business man husband. The husband is addicted to drink and drugs, and his business is going down the pan.
Even the au-pair is not what she seems and leads the investigation team up an avenue that includes blackmailing old clients.
So who is the target of the crimes. The family or the Au-pair.
Before the end of the book more than one life lies in ruins, and at least one person is dead.
This is the start of a great series. Oliver and Stone are fantastic characters and Mari Hannah is one of the very best writers out there. And by “out there” I don’t just mean the UK.