Pan, out now
A disturbing tale of a father’s attempt to find his daughter.
Adam Nevill’s latest novel, Lost Girl, deviates from the supernatural to bring us a story of a father searching for his abducted daughter in a bleak future Britain. The main protagonist, known throughout the book only as ‘the father’, has only one purpose left in life. His daughter was taken, and he will find her or die trying. Society is breaking down under the weight of the strains placed on governments by the havoc caused by climate change. Crops are failing, immigration is ever-rising as a desperate wave of people flock to us from poorer countries though there’s little food in the UK or anywhere; people grow their own fruit and vegetables and meat of any kind is hard to come by. The world is a very different place to the one we know today, even though the novel is only set about forty years in the future. ‘The father’ follows leads provided by a contact he knows only as ‘Scarlett Johansson’, a voice on the phone that sounds like the actress of earlier times that he suspects belongs to someone within the fragmented police force, or at least allied with it.
These tips lead him to people involved in paedophile rings and kiddie porn, and as ‘the father’ uses increasingly violent means to follow the clues to their natural conclusion he has more than enough cause to wonder whether he, in turn, is being corrupted – rendering him unable to return to any semblance of normal life should he even be lucky enough to find the child.
As the violence builds and the father gets closer to the truth, he begins to wonder what monstrous agency is behind these people, and what could corrupt humans to such a level?
As usual, Nevill deftly builds a tale that slowly draws you in, painting a bleak picture of the results of climate change, and moving towards a dramatic conclusion.
Verdict: A bleak look into the near future, and the violence it holds. 8/10