Lost River by Stephen Booth

Personal Problems in Focus

A warm summer day in Derbyshire is ruined when a young girl falls and drowns in shallow waters. Detective Constable Ben Cooper is the first to arrive at the scene but is not able to revive her. The riverbank was full of people but no one fully noticed what happened and the witnesses’ testimonies differ. All circumstances suggest that the drowning was an accident, but Ben cannot let go of the feeling that the dead girl’s family is hiding something and that it has something to do with the accident. He ignores his orders to dismiss the case and starts digging in the family’s past. At the same time as Ben is working on his “non-case” his colleague Diane Fry travels to her hometown Birmingham where the police has reopened a case that she is highly involved in. She moved to Derbyshire after she became the victim of a group rape and new evidence has surfaced, which may help the police catch the perpetrators.

The novel is mainly about Ben and Diane’s personal experiences and problems, while the criminal case is put on the backburner.

An Overdose of Street Names and Environmental Descriptions

Most things in the novel do not make sense to me, and this proves that you should not start with the tenth novel in a series.

The novel is, in my opinion, moving at a snail’s pace because of all the detailed descriptions. Lost River is not only a crime novel, but also a (unsuccessful) travel piece about Birmingham, Derbyshire and the surrounding areas. The environmental descriptions, albeit beautiful, are extremely extensive and assume that the reader has local knowledge. For me it is just a repetition of place names. It feels like the city is one of the main characters and I do not understand what it is saying.

Comments are closed.