Village of the Lost Girls by Agustin Martinez
One afternoon, five years ago, two 11 year old friends, Ana and Lucia left school and were never seen again. The village of Monteperdido in the Pyrenees is still haunted by their sudden and mysterious disappearance.
When Ana is unexpectedly found injured, but alive, in a crashed car, the case is quickly reopened in an attempt to find Lucia. Sixteen year old Ana may have returned home but she is so traumatised from her experience she can’t provide Police with any new information or fresh leads.
Meanwhile, the driver of the car died in the crash, but what was his role in their disappearance? Captor or hero?
As the village cautiously celebrates the return of Ana, old suspicions and gossip resurfaces. A race against time begins as Police from Madrid descend upon the small village and work with the local Police to uncover where Lucia is being kept and if she is even still alive? But where? The dense forest in the mountains could be the perfect hiding place for a fugitive and his captive…
As the pace of the investigation accelerates, out of town Police Inspector Sara Campos discovers vital mistakes were made when the girls first vanished. Meanwhile, locals try and hide their own secrets and obstruct the investigation. Even the weather and the potential for flooding in the valley seem to be hindering the investigation’s progress. Everyone may be in danger from a desperate criminal hiding in plain sight and not everyone will survive this thriller. Village of the Lost Girls is a powerful, yet accessible story with a satisfying conclusion.
First published in Spanish, this English translation appears to retain the quality of the original. Agustin Martinez is one of Spain’s most renowned screenwriters and worked on some of the country’s most popular crime series. When he was travelling with his family in the Pyrenees he overhead locals talking about the case of a missing child. This conversation, inspired The Village of the Lost Girls, his first novel and has since been translated into many languages.
Reviewer: Andrea Molloy
Hachette, RRP $44.99