Michael Robotham
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Buy *Lost* by Michael Robotham

Michael Robotham
368 pages
May 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz returns in another edge-of-the-seat mystery. From page one, the detective’s game is on, gaining momentum, Robotham’s characters skillfully drawn in all their human imperfections - especially the flawed but diligent Ruiz.

Pulled from the murky waters of the Thames, Ruiz is shot three times and near death. Regaining consciousness, he can remember nothing of the event that left him seriously wounded, and the few images that flicker through his brain seem to have little bearing on reality. Lost in a morphine haze, the detective is visited by police officials who doubt his memory loss, particularly since a fortune in diamonds is also missing.

After an attempt on his life, Ruiz is given police protection, but he is covertly watched with suspicion by his superiors. With the aid of a young Indian detective, Alisha Barba, and his friend, Professor Joseph O’Loughlin, Ruiz begins the tedious and frustrating task of piecing together the few facts that he can recall.

One thought dominates his every waking moment: the disappearance and supposed murder of a young girl three years ago. Ruiz believes Mickey Carlyle is still alive; further, what happened on that bloody night in the Thames has something to do with her disappearance and recovery. Unfortunately, raising questions about the girl may allow her convicted murderer a successful appeal.

Because of the potential for appeal, Ruiz runs into a wall of silence from his fellow investigators, any progress he makes dismissed out of hand. But Ruiz cannot ignore the case, driven by his own personal demons, although the risk increases for anyone helping him, especially D.I. Barba, who is in the line of fire.

Fragments of that night return, agonizingly slow images. Ruiz is caught up in a certainty he cannot prove, the need to find Mickey inspired by a devastating loss in his own past. As the picture becomes more defined, Ruiz is convinced that he will find Mickey.

The author creates a strange brew of characters: Mickey’s grieving and emotionally traumatized mother; Mickey’s infamous Russian mobster father; a rich and ruthless grandfather with suspicious motives; and various unsavory denizens of the underworld. Hindered by his shady memories, Ruiz navigates a complex web of deceit, illusion and sleight of hand, much of the violence fueled by the recovery of the diamonds and one man’s revenge.

Struggling against impossible odds to regain his memory and prove that Mickey is alive, Ruiz fights his way through the drug-addled days in hospital to the sewers and underground tunnels of London. This little girl is a symbol for all he has lost in his life; Ruiz is willing to sacrifice anything, even his career, to return Mickey to her mother.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2006

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