What really happened to Jamie King?
“Excellent. . . . As the chapters shift back and forth in time, the tone switches from lyrical and atmospheric in the past to spiky and acidic in the present. . . . Both her therapist and her father are complicated, slippery characters, and through Jeanie’s relationships with them, and her relationships with her married lover and her missing twin brother, the plot folds into a brilliant twist.”
—The New York Times
Twins Jeanie and Jamie King are inseparable. Stuck in a cabin in rural Washington with their alcoholic father, they cling to one another for safety and companionship. Until one night, when their father comes home covered in blood. The next day, he’s gone . . . and so is Jamie. Jeanie’s whole world is turned upside down. Not only has she lost her beloved brother, but with no family left in Washington, she is ripped from everything she knows, including Maddox, the boy she could be learning to love.
Twenty years later, Jeanie is in England. She keeps her demons at bay by drinking too much, sleeping with a married man, and speaking to a therapist she doesn’t respect. But her old life catches up to her when Maddox reappears, claiming to have tracked down her dad. Stunned, Jeanie must decide whether to continue running from her past or to confront her father and finally find out what really happened that night, where her brother is, and why she was the one left behind.
At once a propulsive, heart-pounding mystery and an affecting exploration of love and the familial ties that bind us, The Lost Kings will transport, move, and shock you.
Jeanie King the narrator of this powerful if flawed psychological thriller from Johnson (The Wolves of Winter), who was hoping to put her traumatic childhood in Washington State behind her, including a father who may be a murderer and disappeared when she was 12 moves to her late mother's native Britain, where she attends Oxford University. After graduation, she lands in a dead-end job and continues a dysfunctional relationship with a married professor that began at Oxford. Then investigative journalist Maddox, her first love in Washington, shows up. Maddox, who believes he has tracked down her dad in upstate New York, wants her to fly back to the U.S. Jeanie agrees to go, and as she wrestles with her roiling emotions including the desire to punish her father for what she views as ruining her life and mistrust of Maddox's motives nightmarish but possibly suspect memories surge back. Suspenseful, surprising, and at times deeply disturbing, this portrait of a survivor who has yet to give herself permission to thrive climaxes with a devastating final twist, albeit one that will leave some readers feeling played. Tana French fans will find a lot to like. Agent: Michelle Brower, Trellis Literary Management.