Review LOST GIRL by Adam Nevill


I remember feeling emotionally exhausted reading Adam Nevill’s last offering No One Gets Out Alive (NOGOA hereafter) which put me through the wringer almost much as the main character in the novel.  But being a fan of Adam Nevill’s work, I found myself coming back for more with his latest offering, LOST GIRL.

There’s something that makes me deeply uncomfortable about the subject matter here and (surely every parents worst nightmare) is confronted head on with a desperate man, referred to as “The Father” in the book, searching relentlessly for his missing, abducted daughter in a near-future world ravaged by climate change, socioeconomic breakdown and the world on the brink of collapse.

I’ve long been an admirer of Adam Nevill’s skill at characterization. What he achieved in The Ritual and NOGOA, he achieves again with a desperate, chilling, and at times heartbreaking tale of a man whose love for(and sheer will) to firstly locate, then try and recover his daughter two years after she was taken has descended into almost relentless obsession.

The book is well researched too, with a believable portrayal of how our future in 2053 may look. You could make the case that that future is already upon us in some aspects which gives the story a horrible sense of realism and foreboding. The tipping point of law and order breaking down on a planet being slowly strangled to death by climate change and food shortages.  The never ending herd of soulless refugees roaming like nomads from now unlivable places, seeking sanctuary and shelter elsewhere in overcrowded UK Cities and Towns. Then there’s the violent gangs, child/women sex traffickers, all too happy to take advantage of lax, overstretched and ineffective policing.  It’s bandit country in the truest sense of the phrase, where the weak get chewed up and spat out and the morally abhorrent prosper and thrive.

The Father” cuts a desperate figure, a truly ordinary man, asked to step well beyond his boundaries and limitations and brave some pretty terrifying places where those without conscience or any shred of humane morality lurk. His journey is physically and emotionally shattering and Nevill does a great job of keeping us right there in the passenger seat with him for the whole ride. This is a man changed forever as a result of the abduction, whatever the outcome of his search, and a man prepared to step off the precipice into a black pit that he can’t see the bottom of, for the love of his daughter and the hope that she is still alive.


I caught a vibe of the recent Mini-Series The Missing here, which had a similar theme and I saw the same obsessive element of the child’s father, (played beautifully by James Nesbitt) in “The Father“. With the near future setting of LOST GIRL , I felt placed somewhere between Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and also the near-future vision presented in Alfonso Cuaron’s film, Children of Men. 

LOST GIRL is another tour de force from Adam Nevill and in some ways; I feel, represents a premonition of things to come, which gave the novel an even greater impact and resonance long after I had finished it.

Highly Recommended.

Jonathan Wood

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