cover image Little Sister

Little Sister

Gytha Lodge. Random House, $17 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-24291-9

At the start of Lodge’s riveting fourth police procedural featuring Det. Chief Insp. Jonah Sheens of the Southampton PD (after 2021’s Lie Beside Me), 16-year-old Keely Lennox, her T-shirt and hands covered in blood, walks into the garden of the pub where Jonah is enjoying a beer. He asks her if she needs help, to which she says she doesn’t, but perhaps her 14-year-old sister, Nina, does. Once at the police station, Keely begins to tell her mesmerizing tale of life in the care of Southampton Social Services and of the “three men who had taken her life apart.” She does not, however, reveal the whereabouts of Nina, who’s believed to be injured and perhaps held captive. With time running out, Jonah and his team look into Keely’s story, hitting roadblocks at every turn. The incidents she describes have been investigated by Social Services and declared unfounded. Jonah begins to wonder whether they’re dealing with a manipulative sociopath or a teen who has been telling the truth about at least one of her abusers. After the frenzied pace, the limp ending comes as a bit of a letdown. This clever mystery will keep readers guessing to the very end. Agent: Felicity Blunt, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (June)