The glacier was melting in the summer heat. Ice sheets fractured with a soft crack, and a thin trickle of water spurted from the sheer face of the mountain that towered above the village and gave its name: Monteperido — The Lost Mountain.
Village Of Lost Girls by Augustín Martínez is a thriller set under the intimidating peaks of the Pyrenees. The novel focuses on two young girls who disappeared from the village of Monteperidido five years ago. The village still mourns the loss of friends Ana and Lucia, both were eleven at the time having left school one afternoon but were never seen again. However, one day Ana reappears injured but very much alive as a result of a car crash next to the body of a man and no sign of Lucia.
The village is understandably in disarray as they come to terms with the unexpected turn of events. Thus, Sara Campos from the Family Protection Unit and her boss and mentor Santiago Bain, are called upon from Madrid’s head office and are forced to work with the tentative and sometimes unwilling local police. The investigation is thus reopened and the mistakes made five years ago during the initial investigation are coming back to haunt the locals. It’s up to Sara and Santiago to make sure these mistakes do not happen again under any circumstances. Local trouble however awaits.
Before reading this book I was pretty nervous as it had been a long while since I had read a thriller. I had become pretty bored of how repetitive they were, however I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. The Village of Lost Girls had me shooketh right from the beginning as it opens with you getting to know the close friendship of Ana, Lucia and there family. Then things come crashing down as they both disappear without a trace,from there I just couldn’t stop reading.
One thing that made this book great for me were the characters and how character driven the story was. I got to see the story from different perspectives, from the police side of things you get to see from the point of view of Victor who is Guardia Civil Police. There are also the leading investigators Assistant Inspector Sara Campos and her boss Santiago Bain. Moreover, from the perspective of the Ana and Lucia’s parents and many of the locals within Monteperidido. The standout character for me was definitely Sara Campos. She herself is having her own struggles within night terrors making her unable to sleep and also panic attacks. Throughout the novel Sara must try her best to cope with the inner demons inside of her while trying to solve the investigation. Moreover, I found her relationship with Santiago Bain brilliant and sweet, she even had a nickname for him which was “chickpea” due to how pale and wrinkled his skin was. You could tell both of them weren’t just partners in solving crime but also very close friends.
He knew her better than anyone. They were what had made her a great police officer (118)
Sara was definitely a strong lead character for me. Not once did she take her foot off the gas even when obstacles arose within her and the environment around her, she still soldiered on till the very end.
In addition to this, I bloody loved where it was set! The way Agustín Martínez described the village of Monteperidido made the back of my neck hairs stand up. It was so creepy and just gave me goosebumps, it’s not a place I’d like to visit any time soon. The amazing thing is though whenever I pictured the village in my mind I imagined myself standing there and feeling cold, so cold that I could picture the cold air coming out of my mouth.
I also really enjoyed that there were multiple narratives. Each side character has their own personalities and played an important part in connecting Ana and Lucia’s disappearances. They were all connected to the same core which made it a very interesting novel as we delved deeper into what exactly happened to both of them.
As I got closer to the end and everything was coming into place I realised how much I enjoyed this novel. I had become so invested in the community and characters within Monteperidido that I just couldn’t help feel part of the journey of this story. Many thrillers are sometimes there own downfall as you easily discover the perpetrator, however at no point did I expect who it was! It definitely shocked me. But I always knew Sara Campos would find out who done it. She was such a tenacious and hardworking inspector even though her panic attacks sometimes got the better of her.
The only issue I guess I had were the long chapters! I’m sure some were 20 pages long which felt like a bit much at times. There were times I did want it to end, but the story and characters made me read on.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. There was so much tension and drama that it really did feel like a Netflix series. It was this drama and intensity that kept me wanting to read on without stopping. Moreover, even though there were multiple characters, I didn’t find it confusing, except remembering the names. I felt it gave the story more depth as we got to know the inner workings of the community. The way everything came together was brilliantly executed and I applaud Augustín Martínez for how well this novel was written. However, I do feel the chapters could’ve been made shorter! 20-25 pages per chapter is kind of annoying. I am however excited to see this book come to the small screen and I really hope they cast Itziar Ituno Martínez as Sara.
I would like to thank Quercus Publishing and the lovely Ella for sending me this book.