This is the second book in the Joseph O’Laughlin series, but in this book, Joe is more of a secondary character. The primary protagonist, and narrator, if this story is Vincent Ruiz, a homicide detective that we met in the last book. I really liked Ruiz in Suspect – for some reason he reminded me a great deal of Agatha Christie’s Superintendent Battle, that sort of stolid, steady character whose intelligence tends to be underestimated because he isn’t a chatterbox.
Ruiz’s story starts one night when he is pulled out of the Thames – almost dead, a bullet wound in his leg, and absolutely no recollection of how he got there. Ruiz’s only clue to his own activities is a picture of Mickey Carlyle that was in his pocket. Mickey is one of Ruiz’s great failures – a young girl who disappeared out of her apartment building one day and was never seen again. While a man was convicted of Mickey’s murder, her body has never been found, and Ruiz has never been completely convinced that she actually died. With Ruiz’s superiors dead set against reopening any kind of case around Mickey, Ruiz is on his own trying to piece together the events that led up to his near-death experience in the river.
Lost is a twisty kind of book. Ruiz is a likable character, although I didn’t always agree with his decisions. Once again, the first-person present tense narrative made me roll my eyes a lot as it genuinely makes no sense, but on the whole I was able to look past it to enjoy the story. For me, the biggest hang up on the logical end was the fact that Ruiz still has a bullet wound in his leg and is hobbling about on crutches, but suddenly starts dashing all over London, including down into the sewers. I found myself writing a note with lots of question marks when I read this bit –
“Any cuts? Cover them up with waterproof Band-Aids,” says Barry, tossing a box toward me. “Weil’s disease – you get that from rat urine. It gets into a cut and ends up in your brain.”
So did he manage to cover the bullet wound with lots of waterproof Band-Aids or…????
But setting that aside, Lost was pretty engaging. It was fun to see Joe again, and I rather like the relationship between Joe and Ruiz. I’m interested to see where Robotham takes the next book – it looks like Joe will be back in the narrator’s seat again. All in all, a solid 3.5/5 for Lost – and if it wasn’t for the clumsy choice of narration tense, it probably would have been a 4/5.