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Lost girls [Paperback]

Andrew Pyper
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 13 2000
Reviewers love LOST GIRLS. Readers love LOST GIRLS. Publishing rights sold in the US, the UK and in Germany, LOST GIRLS is an audacious, darkly comic literary thriller that blindsides its reader at every turn, a single mystery that crackles into many, a tale of ghosts both real and imagined.

It's the story of Bartholomew Crane, a criminal defence lawyer who wins. Thirty-three, indifferently impotent, silver-tongued and driven by a moral code that preaches, "There are no such things as lies, only misperceptions," Barth is ripe for the first murder trial of his career. Two fourteen-year-old girls have gone missing and are presumed dead in a depressed northern town. The girls' English teacher - and now Barth's client - is the leading suspect. Barth's laconic trial preparation quickly descends into a nightmarish tableau of psychological terror, where the line between reality and dream disappears. Now he feels a bizarre connection to the victims, haunted by an unseen presence - is it a spirit from the town's past, or a ghost from his own unfinished family history?

A bold and cinematic read, LOST GIRLS takes us into the primeval wilderness of the imagination, where unspeakable crimes can be committed by mind and memory.

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From Amazon

"There is nothing more overrated in the practice of criminal law than the truth." So begins the first chapter of Lost Girls, Andrew Pyper's highly acclaimed debut novel. As the story opens, that maxim is embodied by its main character, Bartholomew Crane, an amoral, cocaine-abusing defence lawyer. His drive to win seems less a matter of competition or ego than some sort of neurotic imperative. Crane's unsavoury bosses, Lyle, Gederov, and Associate, (or Lie, Get 'Em Off, and Associate, as the joke goes), hand him his first murder trial, a grotesque case involving the disappearance of two schoolgirls in Northern Ontario. The accused is the doomed girls' English teacher, who recently ended up on the losing end of a custody battle involving his young daughter. When Crane arrives in Murdoch, Ontario, he finds his client, one Thomas Tripp, either unable or unwilling to cooperate. He must then contend with a variety of strange and very suspicious townsfolk as he attempts to unearth the facts himself. His discovery of the town's dark legend unleashes Crane's own demons, causing him to lose track of reality and the case and sending him down an unfamiliar path: a search for the truth.

Pyper's legal background brings authenticity to the story, but his real gift is for language. Beginning with its remarkably seductive prologue, Lost Girls is far more beautifully written than your average crime story. A national bestseller and a Globe and Mail Best Book of 1999, Lost Girls established Pyper as one of Canada's literary stars. --Moe Berg

From Publishers Weekly

Toronto resident Pyper's spell-binding debut succeeds on so many levels--as a mystery, a legal thriller, a literary character study--that's it's obvious why it was a #1 bestseller last year in Canada. Breathing new life into a modern cliche, the lawyer in need of redemption, the narrator and proudly unlikable main character is do-anything-to-win Toronto attorney Bartholomew Crane, who is assigned the "lost girls" case by his firm, Lyle, Gederov (colloquially known as "Lie, Get 'Em Off"). Two schoolgirls are missing and presumed drowned in Lake St. Christopher, in the outback of Murdoch, Ontario. The man accused of their murder is one of the girls' teachers, Thomas Tripp. Crane quickly discovers that Tripp is uncooperative and seemingly insane, blaming the girls' disappearance on the legendary ghost of a woman who drowned 50 years ago in the lake. Since there's little more than circumstantial evidence against Tripp, Crane is initially confident that he can get the man off. But that confidence dissolves as he immerses himself in the case and the history of the region. Pyper uses Crane's almost vicious self-awareness to chart the crumbling of his self-image as he binges on cocaine, goes stir-crazy in the rural town, and confronts a long-repressed tragedy from his past that bears on the case. As Crane's devastating history unfolds, it's revealed how he became such a shark; as he accepts the truth about himself and his desperate need to solve the mystery behind the ghost story, his fundamental character is illuminated-gradually, with the same restrained suspense that makes Pyper's ingeniously tight plotline so compulsively appealing. BOMC/QPB featured alternate. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Dark, and Misinterpreted Jan. 8 2002
It seems that this gorgeous book has been marketed totally incorrectly. The cover makes it look like a cheesy thriller, so people who want a fast, mindless read pick it up and get bogged down by the psychological depth, mythical dimension, and gothic aesthetic. Andrew Pyper's book is a portayal of the darkness within a man's soul and man's connection between darkness and feminity, both holding fascination as well as horror. It is about the female aspect of a man's psyche coming up to haunt him because it was repressed for too long, taking on the form of ghosts, teenage girls, and strippers. It is about females in society also, and the way they are percieved and treated by the males who desire and fear them. Women represent certain psychological aspects of men, and in the book they take on mythical, archetypal roles. The symbolism of the lake around which the book revolves, of evil lurking beneath the surface of the water, is another representation of the murky, dark, psychological depths of man, which also correlates to women's sexuality. The main character is impotent and obsessed with young girls, and has a boyhood secret he has never been able to get over or deal with. The town he goes to in order to defend a man accused of killing two teenage girls also has a dark secret in its past: the townsmen got together and purposefully drowned a woods-dwelling prostitute they all had slept with, because they became afraid of and disgusted by her. It is a very timeless theme of literature and Andrew Pyper has a fresh, eerie take on it. Please do not underestimate this book, and do not read it if you want a formulaic, whodunit type thriller. "Whodunit" is not remotely the point in this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong debut novel--I loved it! Dec 18 2001
Format:Audio Cassette
Bartholomew Christian Crane is a lost soul of questionable lawyerly morality. His first murder trial is the case of the lost girls, two missing teenagers from Murdoch, an odd little town in northern Ontario. Barth relies on sarcasm and cocaine as he encounters strippers, a ghost and his strange client. Will he emerge from this trial unscathed?
Author Pyper's background as a poet is evident from the opening paragraph of this, his debut novel. The story is liberally sprinkled with Pyper's own brand of humor, spiced with unique imagery and the authentic flavor of the north. He had me hooked from the opening scene.
If you enjoy intelligent crime fiction, suspenseful fantasy or well-crafted stories, this book is a must-read. But be warned, this is not a typical court-room drama or a brain-candy upper. The story is soulful, depressing and riveting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting New Author Aug. 15 2001
By Angus
No this book is not perfect. I am not sure if its marketed correctly. By reading the cover, I thought the book was either a court case or a ghost story. After reading the book, I was pleased to discover this book is so much more. Overall, the book is more about a man and the investigation into his past that has made him a ruthless, cutt-throat lawyer. I'll admitt the ending does not have the pay-off of a great, climatic thriller but the journey was one of the best I have come across in a couple years. Andrew Pyper is an interesting new author. His writing is sharp, witty, humorous and compelling. If he impoves from this first book, its hard to imagine how good of a writer he will be.
Treat yourself to Lost Girls.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Lost Girls" is a keeper Oct. 19 2001
"Lost Girls" by Andrew Pyper is set in a
forgotten, dirty and desolate Canadian town,
called Murdoch, not too far from Toronto. The
book is about--everything human I can think of. A
narrative recorded by a coke addicted lawyer,
Bartholomew Crane, who is sent by his firm to
this town to defend a school teacher accused of
murdering two girls, though the bodies have not
been found. The town is as gritty and numb to
itself as Crane is to himself and the world around
him. Crane, who has a need to hide from a very
real and melancholy innocence where the eye of
the tiger of lives for him as well as many of the
other characters. The novel, the writer's first, is
about so many things, so many layers that it
denies any juggling act of specificity. Though it is
very specific in what it does, it would be like
pinning down a snow storm. Impossible. Just
observe at first, from the outside. Then step inside
and be engulfed in its beauty. It is darkly,
artistically, intelligently written in a kind of
poetry that is purely Pyper's own.
To make Crane likable from the very
beginning, even though he is cynical as hell and
seemingly so smart and savvy and untouched,
(much as we, in other words), doesn't care about
truth, uses dishonesty when it suits him (much as
we in other words) and doesn't give much of a
damn particularly about those little girls, who
might still be alive, is the mark of a writer who
sees into sadness and comes up somehow with
diamonds. Crane is acerbic and funny as well. He
is a marvelous observer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A moody and deeply personal legal thriller July 29 2001
I picked up a copy of Andrew Pyper's LOST GIRLS at a yard sale, for the unbelievably low price of a dollar. The book jacket was covered with praise and accolades for Pyper's tale of murder and madness in northern Ontario, and I faintly remembered there being some buzz on the literary scene following its publication a few years ago. But I have had some bad experiences with book jacket blurbs as of late, and was cautious.
So, steeled against disappointment, I plunged ahead, and was fortunate to discover that my dollar had not gone to waste. LOST GIRLS is a dark and moody thriller, a compulsive page-turner of high caliber. But for a novel that presents itself as more of a John Grisham-type foray into shallowly-drawn characters and legal machinations, LOST GIRLS is almost the opposite, a heavily character-driven story that has far more to do with acceptance of one's own past actions than it does the courtroom. LOST GIRLS is less a legal suspense story than it is a ghost story, where buried secrets threaten to overcome those unable to reconcile the past and the present.
LOST GIRLS follows the first murder case of Bartholomew Crane, a criminal defense attorney with few qualms about what needs to be done to successfully defend his clients. He is summoned up to the remote northern Ontario town of Murdoch, where Thom Tripp has been charged with the murder of two young girls. The drawback is, there are no bodies with which to confirm the murders, and anything that points to his client as a killer is circumstantial at best. But despite this clearly winnable situation, Crane slowly finds himself doubting his reasons for wanting to defend Tripp.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Psychological thriller with a ghostly twist
Ashley and Krystal were best friends and one day never returned home. Both teenagers, they disappear in a small town by a lake in Ontario, Canada. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2009 by I LOVE BOOKS
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
This is the first time I have EVER stopped reading a book to the end. At page 198, boredom, ambivalence and irritation overtook me. Why? Read more
Published on June 27 2007 by Sherry
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost girls
this book was a big dissapointment to me...it had the same basic outline as all the other mystery books... Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by zara
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Dark, and Misinterpreted
It seems that this gorgeous book has been marketed totally incorrectly. The cover makes it look like a cheesy thriller, so people who want a fast, mindless read pick it up and get... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2002 by Jackson Pollock
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable
I found this book to be fairly uninteresting. It was a very quick read, but I figured out who was whom early on and then just found it to be rather dull to get through the book.
Published on Nov. 23 2001 by L. Cole
1.0 out of 5 stars No No No! This is not a good book!
But that is not to say there is nothing good about this book. The epilogue was simply brilliant and unfortunately the story line got worse from then on. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001 by "moosifier"
2.0 out of 5 stars Really lacking storyline
I was very disappointed in this book. He just continues to go on and on about his drug addiction and the details of him doing cocaine. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading
This was a surprise because nowhere did it say that it would deal with the supernatural. I thought it was a regular murder mystery. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read
Pyper has a way with a narrator. He is as capable of writing sarcastic one-liners as he is drawing an evocative picture of a person or place. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2001 by suzzinclaremont
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