Saturday, June 18, 2022

Little Sister

Little Sister by Gytha Lodge
6/28/22; 400 pages
Penguin Random House
DCI Jonah Sheens #4

Little Sister by Gytha Lodge is a very highly recommended police procedural and psychological thriller. This is the fourth book in the series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens and his team of the Southampton PD.

Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens is with his infant daughter in a pub garden when a red headed teenager with her hands covered in blood wanders out of the woods and toward the pub. He asks the girl, Keely Lennox, 16, if she needs help to which she replies she doesn't but her sister Nina, 14, does. The two sisters disappeared from a children's home a week earlier. When questioning her about Nina's location, Keely says that they must listen to her whole story from the beginning to the end in order to learn where Nina is located.

Once at the police station, Keely makes it clear that their story involves three men who have been abusers. She then proceeds to tell her story while displaying an emotionless flat affect. It is clear to Jonah that Keely is very clever, but is she also a sociopath? Keely will answer no direct questions and will only tell her story, insisting that the clues are all there for them to find Nina. Jonah and his team of DS Ben Lightman, DS Domnall O'Malley, and DC Juliette Hanson, are all scrambling to find the hidden clues in her story and investigate the lives of the girls in a frantic effort to find Nina.

For anyone who enjoys procedurals, Little Sister is a perfect choice. Although it is the third in the series, following She Lies in Wait, Watching from the Dark, and Lie Beside Me, I felt that it could be read as a stand alone. You're going to miss some character background information, but the suspense and intrigue in this case will eclipse any questions concerning character development. This is really the strongest novel in the series and an excellent police procedural and psychological thriller.

The writing is exceptional, with an intricate and clever plot that keeps a fast pace throughout. The team has to use all their skills and wit to discover the clues Keely is leaving and uncover the dark deeds she wants them to investigate while listening to her tale. And the things she wants them to discover are sinister. There are several big twists in the course of the investigation, and several of these will change your entire outlook on the case. You won't be able to predict where this novel is heading but you will be glued to the pages while trying to get there.

After reading other novels in the series, these are well established characters for me, but I really do think you can read this one without the previous three novels. The narrative alternates between the point-of-view of Jonah, Keely, and Juliette Hanson. The focus of the plot is Keely's story and the intense investigation rather than the character's lives, which makes it easy to jump right into the story without much background information on the team members. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House via NetGalley.

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