TV journalist and media darling Oonagh O’Neil can sense a sinister coverup from the moment an elderly priest dies on the altar of his Glasgow church. Especially as his death comes as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of a Magdalene Institution. The Church has already tried to suppress what happened to decades of forgotten women. Is someone also covering their tracks?
DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. But what secrets lie behind the derelict Institution’s doors? What sparked the infamous three-day riot that closed it? And what happened to the girls that survived the institution and vowed to stay friends forever?
From Ireland to Scotland.
From life to death.
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A high profile investigative journalist, the death of a priest and past secrets of abuse and injustice make this mystery thriller an enthralling read.
‘The Lost Children’ is written in dual timelines, the terrible lives of the young girls in the Magdalene Institution in the late 1950s in Galway and Glasgow inform the investigation and mystery explored by Oonagh O’Neil and DI Alec Davies in 2000 Glasgow.
The chapters from the 1950’s are harrowing reading, the abuse suffered by young girls forced into the Magdalene institutions is compounded by their imprisonment and torture when they are there. These young unmarried pregnant girls treated like criminals for being victims of abuse and an uncaring, judgemental society. Their stories are written sensitively and backed up with social history that makes them believable characters.
Oonagh, a successful journalist produces a series of exposes into the seedier areas of Glasgow and British society. Her ongoing investigation into the Magdalene institutions coincides with the death of an old priest who is part of her inquiry, what follows is the gradual revelation of the mysteries and a collision of characters seemingly unconnected as the story progresses.
Oonagh is a dedicated journalist, still grieving for her father, she doesn’t suffer fools, but she is loyal and trustworthy. Her polished outer shell hides a tender heart which she keeps well hidden. Her personal life is complicated, and she has a surprisingly deep friendship with DI Alec Davies a hardened Glasgow cop.
In the year 2000 chapters there are multiple storylines; a frustrated priest, a seedy journalist, cynical police and a successful doctor all have their own stories, but these are necessary to the plot and part of its perfectly pitched ending.
Realistic characters, a well-researched plot tempered with mystery and surprises make this a riveting, crime based thriller.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Theresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many, she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel. Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.
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