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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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 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...
Published on Jan. 8 2002 by Jackson Pollock

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept but shaky execution
"Lost Girls," a first novel, has much to recommend it. It has a very unique protagonist who is not particularly likeable and the author, Andrew Pyper, has an interesting style of writing, alternating genuinely spooky scenes with rather off-the-wall humor (at one point, he describes jurors as looking like they are auditioning for "Deliverance-the...
Published on June 28 2001


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Dark, and Misinterpreted, Jan. 8 2002
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
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
By 
This review is from: Lost Girls (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 (Athens, OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
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
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
"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. There is something
mirrored of him in the accused killer, Thom
Tripp, and in the legend of the Lady of the Lake,
which is a childhood horror that grows like
serpents out of that dark body of water, and has
in one respect, to do with, not where Crane's
innocence stopped, but added new accidental
dimension to itself.
The book is bleak, but invigorating. If
there are the fabric threads connecting all of this
together--Thom's pictures of girls from teen
magazines papering his apartment walls--for that
way they cannot leave; if Crane has to hate all
people because it is like making them and himself
vanish, to guard against "casual cruelty"; if the
cruel killing of a war refugee from Poland, in that
murky lake that is like the dark center of the
world in this place, from which she calls for
retribution, and made into a legend to disguise
reality; if Thom persuades two girls into a dream
worldd that they so love, till it starts being real,
and maybe still they love it, even--
It's best not to become what one wishes,
because it may be at odds with the lies of
normalcy that make lives fit into tight carefully
drawn straight lines of roads in the
wilderness...then the pattern conceivably is about
innocence. And what a malign, raw wound it is.
What monsters hide just beneath the skin, not to
hurt, as much as to keep from hurting. Still though
there is this relentless return to what causes too
much anguish to even contemplate. To cover
innocence, with horror, because even that is easier
to take than the pure blast of its source. There is
the need to deny while pursuing so doggedly the
solvings. But, though Crane burns many pages of
his father's books in the lake house Crane never
knew existed, he is powerless to resist the siren
call.
Innocence, the book says, can include
many dark deadly things--Crane's deep
melancholy love for Caroline, and her fate. The
missing girls who were trapped in witches'
dreams that becomes too real. It is Tripp's
desperate attempt to get back to his own boyhood,
such a close fit, he hopes between the school boy
one day and school teacher the next, that surely he
could make the jump back. As well as to a happy
marriage. And to his daughter. The book
absolutely pulses with energy and, by the way, is
quite terrifying. It is incredibly believable, and
heart rending. It is also about redpmption, to
come out of the coke haze. To say good-bye and
rush upward to the surface of that dark lake.
The light that comes is grim, but
illuminating. It works like a great deep terrifying
ultimately refreshing dream that takes the ruined
threads, stitching them together. It names the
weavers of the tapestry are. In unexpected
revelations. It is, at center, about the ascent of
Bartholomew Crane. He is transformed from a
man in hiding to a man who can feel again.
When Crane comforts a dying deer, hit by
a car apparently, there is such a warmth, such a
compassion from Crane as he feels the life
leaving the animal, as Crane comforts the animal.
With cars passing by, not stopping, just occupants
looking at the man on the side of the road,
cradling the deer's head in his lap, it seems that
innocence comes with acknowledging that living
things do move and that living things do die. And
sometimes it is our fault that they die. We have to
accept it. Ask grace for it. The most we can do is
to comfort each other. And in doing that, be of
use, be of full measure.
The starkness, the somberness of the
novel, in its brave search for answers propelled
me forward, in the grip of the thing itself. There is
such integrity to the writing. Such a cleanness of
purpose. This is not just another forgettable
entertainment of murders in our hands, safe in our
homes, reading. It is entertaining, very much so,
but far more, it is makes one feel as though
something truly good has been accomplished here
by a wondrous writer. It is of a piece. "Lost
Girls" can be no other than what it is. This book is
for treasuring.
the end
.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A moody and deeply personal legal thriller, July 29 2001
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
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. Local superstition points towards the involvement of an angry spirit in the lake, and Crane begins to have sightings of things he cannot easily explain away.
Pyper has set himself a daunting task to perform, and has only added to the pressure by manufacturing his antagonist as an extremely unlikable character. Crane is an impotent, cocaine-snorting mess of a man, a man not above outright lying in the pursuit of winning a case. Any moral qualms he may have about what his clients have done pales in comparison to his almost fanatical devotion to winning. But Pyper is careful not to judge his character; very often in criminal defence work, a moral qualm can only get in the way of providing the best possible defence as required by law. Pyper understands this dichotomy, and it may be one of the reasons a reader might be displeased with the novel. It is much easier to get behind a crusading warrior for good than a determined lawyer who understands that everyone is entitled to be thought innocent until proven guilty. That is the law, and the way our society functions. Pyper appreciates the stress this can put on a person, and acknowledges that sometimes the job can be arduous.
Pyper's strength in creating a story comes from his refusal to take the easy way out. Instead of cheapening the plot by having a more crowd-pleasing conclusion (i.e., evil lawyer recognizes the serious vocational error he has made, and travels back from the dark side), Pyper gives us an inner journey of self-discovery. What Crane slowly evolves into has nothing to do with a laypersons one-sided view of morality and the law, and everything to do with atoning for the sins and regrets of past exploits.
Pyper's addition of a ghost story to the mix is one of his only missteps. While it does much to establish an atmosphere of dread, it never seems fully resolved. Crane's frequent forays to the lakeside become increasingly bizarre, and loaded with coincidence. It serves to fuel the plot, but it's incomplete, unfocused. And Crane and Tripp's final meeting is presented in such a way as to drain any tension from the story. It's an ending, but it feels rushed. And Crane's legal superiors, Lyle and Gederov, are caricatures of the worst sort; one-dimensional criminal lawyers who represent the most basic stereotype of the immoral lawyer. They allow Crane to see what he may become, but they don't belong in the same story, and do disservice to Pyper's obvious talents.
But minor quibbles aside, LOST GIRLS is a fine, unpredictable thriller. And in that small sub-genre of novels set in northern Ontario, this surely must rank as one of the best.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept but shaky execution, June 28 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
"Lost Girls," a first novel, has much to recommend it. It has a very unique protagonist who is not particularly likeable and the author, Andrew Pyper, has an interesting style of writing, alternating genuinely spooky scenes with rather off-the-wall humor (at one point, he describes jurors as looking like they are auditioning for "Deliverance-the Movie"). But somewhere in the writing, Pyper loses his way and his story suffers. He gets so wrapped up in creating atmosphere and trying to establish an air of mystery that he lets his plot drag. The book often slows to a crawl and he becomes repetitive in his descriptions of both scene and character. There is a major plot point that the careful reader will see coming a mile away. It's not a bad book and is far superior to Stephen King's "Dreamcatcher," which is a bloated bore. But it is obviously the work of a first-time novelist, who has a story to tell but doesn't yet possess the skills to tell it particularly well. It's good enough in spots to see that Pyper has talent and I hope he keeps writing. Next time, he should just trust his instincts and not try so hard for atmosphere that he lets his plot get bogged down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good first novel from a writer with REAL promise..., June 15 2001
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm a bit disappointed in the other reader reviews I've seen here. After all, this is a FIRST novel by the author and I was amazed by the great writing in so much of this book, leaving me with a desire to read more books by Mr. Pyper, who I expect to get better and better as time goes on. To be honest, this book has some of the flaws of a first book written by an author who needs more practice tightening and sharpening his sense of pacing and drama but even so, there is much to recommend here. The first chapter, where a young girl is dragged to the bottom of a lake by an inexplicable force, is truly gripping. After that first chapter, there was some lack of tension here and there and things dragged a bit at time, but I still could NOT put this book down. There is an original voice at work here, one that deserves to be heard again and I, for one, am looking forward to reading another of this author's books in the future.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Dark, and Misinterpreted, Jan. 8 2002
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and seductive, July 3 2001
By 
R. Witte (Croton-on-Hudson, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
Incorporating the best of Scott Turow and Stephen King, Andrew Pyper has created an unusual and compulsively readable novel in LOST GIRLS. Attorney Batholomew Crane is a young, coke addicted attorney assigned his first murder case. It's Barth's job to get a teacher accused of killing two of his female students off. No matter what the cost, Barth intends to get his client an acquittal. As Crane digs deeper into the case, pieces of which may be tied to the town's history and to a long forgotten, shameful episode in his own past, Barth spirals further and further away from reality. With prose so beautiful it brings to life the desperation of Bartholomew Crane as he slowly suffers a personal breakdown and redemption, and the cold, white desolation of Northern Canada, LOST GIRLS has a creepy atmosphere that compels you to keep turning pages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't get enough credit..., July 8 2001
By 
Pulchrakia (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lost Girls (Mass Market Paperback)
I've just finished reading this book and after reading some of the reviews, I have to say that this book doesn't get the credit that it deserves. At first, the book was a little confusing. Not in the storyline, but in the way the author wrote. But this confusion quickly disappeared very early into the book, and afterwards, the story was thoroughly enjoyable. The way the author portrays the main character in the story is fascinating! It's like he slowly breaks down as the book progresses. And the ending is not one that you would expect. All in all, I think this book is an interesting look into the world of law from a lawyers point of view as well as a look into how a crime takes over a small town. Ignore the bad reviews and just give this book a chance! It can't hurt.
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Lost Girls
Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper (Hardcover - 2000)
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