Village of the Lost Girls
By Agustín Martínez
Pub Date: 24th Jan 2019
Five years after their disappearance, the village of Monteperdido still mourns the loss of Ana and Lucia, two eleven-year-old friends who left school one afternoon and were never seen again. Now, Ana reappears unexpectedly inside a crashed car, wounded but alive.
The case reopens and a race against time begins to discover who was behind the girls’ kidnapping. Most importantly, where is Lucia and is she still alive?
Inspector Sara Campos and her boss Santiago Bain, from Madrid’s head office, are forced to work with the local police. Five years ago fatal mistakes were made in the investigation conducted after the girls first vanished, and this mustn’t happen again. But Monteperdido has rules of its own.
The Village of Lost Girls had me gripped right from the start. Set in the Pyrenees mountains in an atmospheric snowy small town, two eleven year old girls go missing, both only 11 years old, friends and neighbours. The book flashes forward five years later, someone notices a car crash off the side of the cliff and one of the girls Ana is inside the car, alive but hurt. The case of the missing girls gets re-opened, there are many questions for Ana and the hunt to find Lucia starts again.
The Village of Lost Girls is very character driven, you hear from lots of different characters throughout the book from the police, Sara, Santiago and Victor, the parents of both the missing girls, the missing girls, other family members and members of the Monteperdido community. It is a very in depth and thorough missing person’s mystery. I really liked the fact that the main police detective was a woman, Sara. She was battling her own demons with strange dreams and not being able to sleep. She was so determined and hard working throughout the book to get Lucia back, even if she took a wrong turn or a false lead she never gave up hope and kept on trying. She was a very strong female lead character and I really liked the way she was portrayed, the way she worked and figured things out. Although throughout the novel you read from lots of other character perspectives I never felt like it was confusing. Each person had a strong character, so I could picture all of them very clearly. Although some of the names were a bit confusing at first I soon got used to who was who.
I really loved where the book was set, up in the snowy Pyrenees mountains, it gave the novel a really creepy, cold and harsh landscape, which made me feel chilly and eerie the description of the landscape was just beautiful throughout the book.
“The glacier was melting in the summer heat. Ice sheets fractured with a soft crack, and a think trickle of water spurted from the sheer face of the mountain that towered above the village and gave it its name: Monteperdido-the Lost Mountain.”
For a mystery thriller I felt like this was quite a long book, however every time I felt like it was lulling a bit more drama was unveiled, there was certainly a good amount of tension throughout the novel. I was always gunning for Sara Campos to find Lucia and catch whoever kidnapped her and Ana. I was really invested in the story and characters, I never really guessed who the kidnapper could be either and was shocked by the ending. It felt like reading a real-life investigation as there were so many paths to go down and people to investigate, clues to look into and possible guilty parties to interview. It wasn’t a straight forward mystery and that’s what I really liked about this novel. It had a lot of depth to it in all senses and although a long book there was enough tension and drama pickled throughout to keep me interested until the very end.
Overall I really enjoyed reading The Village of Lost Girls, if you like to read mysteries and thrillers that are character driven, atmospheric and well written then this book is most definitely for you. I would actually like to read more of Agustín Martínez’s novels and hope that he would write another novel where Sara Campos is the main detective again.
This book is one to put on the top of you books to buy in 2019 and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. Katie x
* Thank you Netgalley & Quercus Books for giving me an advanced copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review *