In September, I read a great book called Have You Seen This Girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch. Although it’s subject matter disturbed me, it was a wonderfully written book that, although very dark in content, was gripping from the beginning and had twists and turns aplenty with one massive twist at the end that I just didn’t see coming at all. Knowing that this was the first book in a series, I didn’t really know where Lynch was going to take it but I didn’t have long to wait to find out.
House of the Lost Girls picks up 20 years later, with teenager Marianna, who has arrived in Flocksdale with her mother and step-father, the new judge of Flocksdale. Unhappy at having to move away from her home and her friends, Marianna is sullen and irritable. She takes herself off to get to know her new home and quickly makes friends. However, Flocksdale’s macabre history is ever present, and when a young girl is kidnapped, it seems that history may be repeating itself.
This book was much better than the first book. I couldn’t put it down, as I found myself ensconced in the mysteries of Flocksdale. Lynch excels at building up the tension, feasibly leading her characters down the wrong path, leaving the reader mentally screaming at the characters “Don’t do it!”whilst baffling the reader so that they do not see the big reveal coming at all. As with the first book, this book has a surprise in store at every turn.
That being said, some of the novel is a little predictable. I’m not going to go into how, because perhaps it is just how I read the book that I managed to guess at certain involvements throughout (though not all, I might add!) Knowing the story of the first book gives a lot of clues to the second book, which maybe explains why I had an idea of who was involved in what. Perhaps this book may have worked better as a standalone, in terms of retaining the mystery.
However, I enjoyed this book more than the first one, which although well written, left me feeling uncomfortable with it’s plot. Lynch builds up her characters well and, of course, the return of feisty Wendi Wise, the main protagonist of Have You Seen This Girl?, was a good device to aid the link of the two books.
I don’t know if there will be more Flocksdale Files to come, given the way this book ended, and also I’m not sure how much mileage is left in the storyline but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I didn’t necessarily expect to, given the way I felt about the first book. Yet, this book did not give me that same feeling of ickiness as the first one did. Instead, I enjoyed the journey and wouldn’t hesitate to read future Carissa Ann Lynch novels, or to recommend them.