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3.5 out of 5 stars
Lost Girls
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 6, 2009
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. One of their school teachers, Thomas Tripp, is accused of murdering them after some evidence turns up. However, no bodies are found. Defence lawyer Bartholomew Crane is summoned for the court case and reaches the small town from Toronto, assuming this to be quite a straight forward case, an easy-win. However, his client (Tripp) is very uncooperative and seemingly unstable and this, combined with an old ghost story surrounding the lake, a story known in fact by all the locals, and with his own personal problems to deal with, make him realise that the case is much more complicated than what it appeared in the beginning. The impact of what Crane learns as the days go by trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together is quite strong. He starts having nightmares and being haunted by visions.
And the question keeps lingering: where are the girls? Why haven't their bodies turned up yet?

In my opinion this book is well written but lacks in connection with character development, meaning that a part from Crane, who is the leading figure and is accurately described in all of his feelings and circumstances, the other characters fade into the background too lightly despite bearing relevance to the story and deserving more space. Suspense is quite high in parts, but in the long run, and because it is almost always connected with Crane, it becomes a bit... trite. While it is true that I have never liked `ghost stories' much, this is not exactly one of them, or not entirely. This fact alone may have made me depreciate the book a bit, but I still feel that a certain je-ne-se-quoi should have been added or changed to make the story more compelling. As it stands, it is a bit too implausible (and that includes its end).
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2007
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? The plot is thin; a short story would have sufficed. The characters are poorly developed and appear as mostly stereotypes/caricatures. I found the trite dialogue between characters tiresome and unnatural. Pyper's banal and pedantic scene descriptions add nothing to the development. I truly fail to see the "comic" or "wit" in his writing, as some of the reviews claim. I had just finished rereading Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" so perhaps the chasm from literary great to literary wannabe was just too wide to cross. This little stinker goes to the top of my "do NOT recommend" list.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2003
this book was a big dissapointment to me...it had the same basic outline as all the other mystery books...if u are an active reader then you will unscramble the mystery after reading 3-4 chapters and then be bored out of your mind at the attempt the author makes to make get you sucked into the story, when i was reading this book i would read trough a whole chapter and at the end find that the author had wanted me to feel a certain emotion but i just didnt feel it. overall for me this book was a waste of time and if i didnt have to write a report on it i would have put it down after the 5th chapter and picked up something else.a good mystery is something that keeps you guessing ... and interested in the book but if i had the choice i would put this book under the label childrens nightime stories because even little kids would not feel scared at this authors attempt of horror.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 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
on December 18, 2001
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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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2001
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.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2001
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. I bought a book being told that I was going to be reading a courtroom thriller/drama with elements of the supernatural. To a small extent this is true, however "Lost Girls" is far more about the main character's cocaine addiction than a supernatural tale. Written in the first person but in an intensely irritating passive tense ("I walk across the street. Rain splashes on my face" and so on) "Lost Girls" actually becomes very slow reading the more you go on. Compared with the excellent epilogue this is a let down indeed.
The rest of the time that Crane is not discussing whether to have "one line of snow or two", we are treated to the other characters in the book. Most are so stereotypically bland as to be of no interest at all. Thomas Tripp, the accused, is by far and away the most cardinal of character sinners as Pyper tries desperately to portray a horrific fiend of mental imbalance when the effect is somewhat nearer to a sad old man who has simply had enough. Then there is McConnell, the filibustering parent of one of the missing girls and Crane's associates, Pyper's caricatures rather than characterisation of one excessively camp, gay man and one excessively large, unpleasant and rude man. I doubt very much if Pyper has met the like of either.
So in total we are talking about a book initially brilliant which overplods to a totally unsatisfactory ending which takes far, far too many pages to get to. And that does not even touch on the disappointment of the central supernatural legend that comes straight out of the "Blair Witch Project."
No. My only advice is do not waste your money and your time.
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on October 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. 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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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2001
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. I got tired of the same ole' discription of the strippers. I kept reading wanting something really exciting to happen but this book really falls short.
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