Tag Archive > Claire McGowan

The Dead Ground

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The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan, book reviewOne of the most memorable review books that I was sent last year was Claire McGowan’s novel The Lost, a book that stood out amongst other crime fiction I read both for its distinctive setting (post-Troubles Northern Ireland) and unusual perspective (missing persons). Having enjoyed it, I finished my review by saying that I looked forward to the inevitable second outing of the story’s protagonist, psychologist Paula Maguire. This return has come pleasingly soon, with The Dead Ground scheduled for general release in April – the lovely people at Headline, however, have sent me an advanced copy that I demolished this weekend with relish.

We return to Paula’s life shortly before Christmas, with snow thick on the ground and the repercussions of her previous case hanging heavily over her head.


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The Lost

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The Lost, Claire McGowan, book reviewEvery two minutes in the UK, someone disappears; that’s over 200,000 people a year. Crime fiction – whether books, TV or film – would have us believe that most of these people would be done away with by serial killers, but as Claire McGowan points out in her new novel The Lost, statistically 64% will have gone missing voluntarily, 19% will just drift away from weak societal bonds and 16% will not mean to go missing, but will somehow lose their way or their memory. Only 1% of missing people vanish as a result of someone else taking or hurting them. It is this 1% that haunts psychologist Paula Maguire.

As an expert on the missing, Paula is seconded from her usual work in London to a newly established Missing Persons Unit based in the small border town of Ballyterrin in Northern Ireland, which also happens to be the hometown that she happily left as a teenager.


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