Miranda Sugarman was supposed to be in the Midwest, working as an eye doctor. So how did she end up dead on the roof of one of New York City's seediest strip clubs? Ten years earlier, Miranda had been P.I. John Blake's lover. Now he has to uncover her secret life as a strip tease queen. But the deeper he digs, the deadlier the danger... until a shattering face-off in an East Village tenement changes his life forever. Little Girl Lost - is the stunning debut novel from Richard Aleas, a writer whose stories have been selected for the Best Mystery Stories of the Year and The Year's Best Horror Stories. It was nominated for both the Edgar and Shamus Awards for Best First Novel.
Aleas's debut barrels forth at the speed of one of the Manhattan taxis its protagonist frequently catches and contains some whiplash-inducing plot twists. John Blake, an NYU dropout turned PI, is stunned to learn that his high school girlfriend, Miranda, who he thought went to medical school and then on to lead a tame life in the Midwest, actually became a stripper. Even more shocking she's been murdered. Angry and confused, Blake looks into Miranda's past, beginning at a 10th-rate strip joint owned by some unsavory characters. A dancer there helps him at her peril, and he endures some beatings himself as he nears the surprise conclusion. Still, despite the seedy settings, Aleas's writing is more tinged with insight than blood; Blake reflects that "there is such a thing as... a sense of duty to the things of your past, even if they're not quite as beautiful as you remember." Gritty New York streets and scummy apartments flash by briskly, but Aleas has a detective's eye for detail, which allows him to create some atmospheric scenes (when Blake walks through a busy section of Queens, he notes everything from the kosher certification sign in a bakery's window to a drugstore's "out-of-season Coppertone displays"). Tightly written from start to finish, this crime novel is as satisfyingly edgy as the pulp classics that inspired it.