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Part family drama, part psychological thriller, The Lost Girls is smart, polished, thought-provoking popular fiction with a dark edge in the Jodi Picoult mould, from the author of The Mistake.

From the bestselling author of The Mistake comes a hauntingly powerful story about families and secrets and the dark shadows cast by the past.

Curl Curl, Sydney, January 1978.

Angie's a looker. Or she's going to be. She's only fourteen, but already, heads turn wherever she goes. Male heads, mainly ...

Jane worships her older cousin Angie. She spends her summer vying for Angie's attention. Then Angie is murdered. Jane and her family are shattered. They withdraw into themselves, casting a veil of silence over Angie's death.

Thirty years later, a journalist arrives with questions about the tragic event. Jane is relieved to finally talk about her adored cousin. And so is her family. But whose version of Angie's story – whose version of Angie herself – is the real one? And can past wrongs ever be made right?

The shocking truth of Angie's last days will force Jane to question everything she once believed. Because nothing – not the past or even the present – is as she once imagined.

'James has produced a cleverly plotted, eloquently written page-turner that shores up her status as Australia's queen of the domestic thriller.' Angela Savage, Ned Kelly Award-winning author

'The Lost Girls is the kind of novel that demands to be read in a single, breathless sitting. It's fast-paced and thrilling; a Jack-in-the-box kind of a novel that will have you on the edge the whole way through, guessing until the very end.' Newtown Review of Books


Polished and absorbing. Wendy James has again demonstrated her flair for suspenseful diversion, buttressed by her not inconsiderable literary talent.

Australian Book Review

With a well crafted, multi-layered plot exploring the ways in which the past shapes us, and the difficulty in leaving it behind, The Lost Girls is an engrossing story of domestic drama and suspense.

Book'd Out

[James's] novels have come to inhabit this interesting space between taut domestic drama and crime thriller ... Yet, the poise and sureness James brings to the writing here sets this novel apart from anything she has done previously ... the novel is nothing less than compelling ... The Lost Girls grabs hold of you and doesn't let go — the sort of book you find yourself still reading long after you intended to put it down. In short,everything you want a novel of this kind to be.

The Weekend Australian

James' character development is flawless, building up a picture of each of the characters subtly, as they duck and weave around one another ... this book is a rich, dense novel, that goes so much deeper than whodunit ... this is as much literary fiction as it is a crime novel, driven, above all, by character growth, deep themes, and exquisite writing.

Compulsive Reader

James has woven the past and present closely together ... she gives a feeling of immediacy to the plot ... [and] delivers in a way that is bound to surprise readers.

Good Reading

A moving book that relentlessly hits the mark.

Sydney Morning Herald

An absorbing domestic thriller.

The Age

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    February 26, 2014

    Michael Joseph

    280 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    February 26, 2014

    Penguin eBooks

    280 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo

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