Review: The Lost by Cole McCade02:26
Author: Cole McCade
Genre: Contemporary romance, Dark, Abuse
Release Date: 25 Aug 2015
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My rating: 4 Stars
There's something wrong with Leigh.
She's known it her whole life. She knows it every time she spreads her legs. Every time she begs for the pain, the pleasure, the heat of a hard man driving deep inside. She's a slave to her own twisted lusts--and it's eating her alive. She loves it. She craves it. Sex is her drug, and she's always chasing her next fix. But nothing can satisfy her addiction, not even the nameless men she uses and tosses aside. No one's ever given her what she truly needs.
Until Gabriel Hart.
Cold. Controlled. Impenetrable. Ex-Marine Gabriel Hart isn't the kind of man to come running when Leigh crooks her pretty little finger. She loathes him. She hungers for him. He's the only one who understands how broken she is, and just what it takes to satisfy the emptiness inside. But Gabriel won't settle for just one night. He wants to claim her, keep her, make her forever his. Together they are the lost, the ruined, the darkness at the heart of Crow City.
But Leigh has a darkness of her own. A predator stalking through her past--one she'll do anything to escape.
Even if it means running from the one man who could love her...and leaving behind something more precious to her than life itself.
My first book by this author and I'm impressed with his writing and brave to tackle a very dark topic. Before I start this review, a few words of caution. This is a very dark read despite the HEA. It's triggery for a lot of things and though I recommend reading it, still you need to take heed of all the aujtor's warnings at the beginning.
I loved how rich and evocative the writing is despite the rather bleak and desparate tone of the story. I rarely have a clear vision of the characters I'm reading about but here, Mr. McCade described them all in such a vivid way that I had a picture of them in my mind almost from the very beginning. Crow City was also strongly prensent in this story, not just a background to the events, but a force that shapes the characters in many ways. The whole story read very much like a movie too, with richly drawn atmosphere and very, very strong actors' play.
The whole story is told from Leigh's POV of view and being in her head was quite an adventure. There is some going back and forth in time but all the events are told as if happening now, right before our eyes and that made them even more disturbing. The abuse was really graphically presented and I admit that a particular scene was too much for me and I had the skim over some of it.
The suspense plot is also well drawn and some twists and secrets kept me guessing to the end.
I have to admit I have mix feelings about both Leigh and Gabriel. I don't think either of them is the good character in this story. On the surface he is like the knight in shining armour, albeit a little broken himself, who saves the little lost princess. In really neither of them is a princess or a noble knight. They are two people who have both suffered terrible things which have marked and changed them forever.
Some things in Leigh's character remained a mystery for me and I'm not sure how they fit with her character. I don't really know if it's author's failure to convince me they are an intrinsic part of her nature or it's my own inability to make sense of them but I really felt ambiguous about her at times. I liked her and sympathised with her but I also couldn't fully understand some of her decisions and actions.
Same goes for Gabriel. We see less of him and only from Leigh's perspective and I liked a lot about him but some of his actions also seemed questionable to me and left me feeling unsettled.
(Side note: I strongly recommend to read the prequel, The Fallen, which tells the story of Gabriel before he meets Leigh in The Lost. I enjoyed this short novella even more than the full-length novel and feel it gives us an invaluable insight into Gabriel's heart and mind. It's can also be triggery to some people, so approach with caution but still, I loved everything in it - the plot itself, the writing style, the way it fits and complements The Lost.)
I have some other minor quibbles - there were repetitions and I have a major objection to a particular plot point involving Leigh and her son. Still, there are a lot of strong points in this story and despite or rather because of its difficult subject matter, I think it's a worthy read.
There is a lot of violence and abuse and emotional and physical hurt in this story but they are explored in depth without being romanticised or glorified. This book is not perfect, yet it's brave and real and made me think a lot of thoughts for days after I finished it. And that is not something I can say of many of the romances I read!