Before we start, I would highly recommend that if you haven’t already, you start your Lottie adventure with the superb first book from Patricia Gibney in this series “The Missing Girls”. That way you can get to know this hot-headed, emotionally unstable DI and her hardworking crew and be familiar with the themes that start in book one and continue through into “The Stolen Girls”, DI Lottie Parker’s second outing.

Lottie starts book two still trying to come to terms with a crossover between her professional and personal life that left her off work for several difficult months, with a trolley load of baggage to work through. She’s suffering and by proxy, her children are suffering. Full of good intentions for maintaining her work/life balance, Lottie heads back to work but no sooner is she back in the room, then the trouble starts again. This time around the time there are some very dark themes explored, starting with Kosovo in the relatively recent past and touching on human and organ trafficking, exploitation & forced sexual labour. Some of the descriptions may be upsetting for the more sensitive amongst us, but there is nothing gratuitous, it all fits into the story, and there are a number of connections that bring Lottie much closer to the action than she might have anticipated this time around. Her relationships, both professional and personal are put under intense pressure and she learns lessons about herself and her family that may be a little hard to take.

Fast paced, graphic, and due to the subject matter, in some places a tough read. But a worthwhile one. I am excited see how the character of Lottie Parker develops and look forward to the next installment in this excellent new series.

4 stars