The Missing Ones is the first story in the D.I. Lottie Parker series and Patricia Gibney’s debut published in 2017. She is up to #12 in the series and I hope to enjoy many more days with this wonderful group of characters. For Reading Ireland, I thought this was a good time to finally read a few books from the series and I enjoyed the first and second, The Stolen Girls. It was interesting to see that Lottie’s life (a widow with three children) is similar to Patricia Gibney’s own life (see About the Author at the end of the post).

The Missing Ones (D.I. Lottie Parker #1) by Patricia Gibney, Michele Moran

Published March 16th 2017 by Bookouture, October 27th 2017 by Bookouture Audio

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Missing Ones is the first story in the D.I. Lottie Parker series and Patricia Gibney’s debut published in 2017. She is up to #12 in the series and I hope to enjoy many more days with this wonderful group of characters. This story opens with a group of young children at a church and one of them gets beaten. The kids watch as the young boy is buried. Fast forward many years and D.I. Lottie Parker is called to a murder of a woman in a cathedral. The investigation barely starts when a man is found hanging from a tree in a secluded area. That one is passed off as a suicide and Lottie is told to leave it alone, but with a matching tattoo to the first victim, Lottie knows they are connected. Following the evidence, Lottie is lead to St. Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly there are links to murders in the past, missing children and more. There is also some shenanigans involving money from the council, property development, and bribery, but how is it all connected?

I really liked Lottie Parker. She is a woman that I identified with easily, a single mother raising three children alone after the death of her husband. She needs to work to support her family and there is some regret there. Her two teenage daughters are typical and give her a lot of grief, but her son is easy to deal with, or is he? Lottie is stubborn, but has good instincts and does take some chances. She works with Boyd, her partner who has issues of his own. Her boss is a cantankerous guy, one who wants cases wrapped up neatly and quickly, which goes against Lottie’s grain and gets her in his bad books more than once. The book starts slow building up as the case is investigated and then it picks up and had me wanting to listen every minute. This was a case that got a bit convoluted and twisty, but as Lottie and Boyd put the pieces together, the storylines merge to a satisfying conclusion. The Catholic Church, actually some psychopathic priests, are involved in some abuse and murder that is uncovered in this case. I will say that I was kept guessing right to the gruesome end of the story. The Missing Ones is a crime thriller/police procedural that deals with some very heavy subject matter. It is disturbing, so be prepared. As much as this story was dark, I couldn’t stop listening until I got to the end and quickly picked up the next book in the series to see what was next for Lottie Parker, her family and the rest of her team. Michele Moran narrates this book and does an excellent job with the story. Once I got used to her voice, I sat back and enjoyed her performance. I hope she narrates the full series as she is now the voice of Lottie for me.

The Stolen Girls (D.I. Lottie Parker #2) by Patricia Gibney, Michele Moran (Narrator)

Published July 6th 2017 by Bookouture, Bookouture Audio

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Stolen Girls is the second book in the D.I. Lottie Parker series and can be read as a standalone. In this outing, Lottie is in a rush to get back to work after a prolonged leave of absence to deal with the aftermath of the last case she solved. On her way out, she runs into a woman and child at her door, a woman who doesn’t speak English. She hands Lottie an envelop with a note written in another language. Lottie rushes her off and heads to work. The case she ends up dealing with is one of a woman buried at a construction site. When she gets someone to translate the note, it is a request to find a young woman. Is this the person who the young woman was looking for? When another body turns up in a similar manner, found by the same man, Lottie knows they need to figure this one out before more bodies are found. When two more woman go missing, a friend of Lottie’s daughter and the woman who originally came to her door, the case heats up. The investigation leads to a resettlement center, and Lottie is sure the administrator, Dan Russell, is hiding something. Will they find the missing women before one of them shows up buried in at another construction site?

Wow, this one kept me on the edge of my seat. This is the second case that comes close to home for Lottie. Somehow, her dead husband was connected to the missing girl and Lottie needs to figure out how? Her daughter is keeping secrets that are dangerous and the child of the missing woman ends up living with Lottie and her family. Once again, the crimes are serious yet timely. The story begins in Kosovo and the prologue is hard to read. I thought I knew how it all fit together, but I was only partially correct. Dealing with trafficking, stolen organs, rape and self-harm there are some heavy issues covered in this book. We get to know more about Boyd in this book, and learn about his past and marriage, as well as information about Adam, Lottie’s husband. All this is written in a way that meshes the information and stories well. My heart broke for little Milot. He was in a strange country and now his mother is missing. What is the connection with Andri Petrovci, the man from Kosovo who found the first two bodies? The Stolen Girls is a well written, fast paced, and thrilling police procedural with a lot of twists thrown in. Once again I will say parts of this book are difficult to read and may trigger some readers. Once again the narration by Michele Moran is well done and adds much to the story. If you enjoy audiobooks, I recommend you give this one a listen, otherwise, pick it up and get prepared for a twisty ride.

About the Author (Written after writing the first book):

My name is Patricia Gibney and I’m from Mullingar, County Westmeath. Right in the heart of Ireland. Surrounded by lakes, Mullingar is damp and wet most of the year but when the sun shines it is a little piece of heaven on earth. I’ve lived here all my life. I’m widowed, seven years in May, but was married to Aidan since 1982. I’ve three children who keep me sane, or maybe keep the madness at bay, just a little bit! I say that because I am an artist and a writer. I started writing, for therapy, when Aidan died.

I secured an agent in January 2016 and she is fighting my corner in an effort to get my debut novel published.

Three years ago, I decided to get serious about it. I joined The Irish Writers Centre. Started doing courses. I love reading crime thrillers so it was obvious to me to start writing in the crime genre. And let me tell you, it is not easy. A crime novel needs to be tightly plotted and plotting is the bane of my life. I prefer to write straight off the top of my head. Oh, Oh. Feels good when writing but then comes the editing. I lost 20,000 words in the process. But at least I am proud to say I got it done.

I am now writing the second novel in the series, featuring Lottie Parker and a host of credible characters. They are all part of my extended family, you know the kind – people you love one minute and want to kill the next!

So join me on this journey and lets see where it leads us.