The Lost Boy by Jane Renshaw is a wonderfully-crafted suspense story with some elegant twists in the nature of the characters.
Penny and Rod Clarke and their two young, not-well-behaved boys, Freddie and Alfie accept Anna’s offer of a holiday a remote Scottish island. Rod is excited to see the island’s birdlife. Penny is excited to have some time away from the stress of trying to keep the family’s business alive. The two boys are not excited by anything, unhappy to be on an island with nothing to do and they soon make their feelings known. In fact, they’re both badly-behaved, spoilt brats.
Anna’s husband is out in the North Sea on a fishing boat and her teenage son is staying with her sister and brother-in-law on the mainland where he attends school. They’ll both be home soon.
But Penny is suspicious of Anna and does some snooping and sure enough… but by this time, Freddie has gone missing. He’s run off before so Anna is not too concerned. Rod returns from bird watching though and accuses Anna of negligence again and the incident becomes the subject of a major rift between Penny and Rod and then becomes the subject of an extensive search exercise – police, islanders, fishing boats, a helicopter… but no Freddie. Anna is even searching the island’s coastline in her small yacht.
And then Rod goes missing.
I’ll leave the description there because I don’t want to spoil the plot twists and intrigue that develops and creates the essence of the story. Suffice to say, the story is well-constructed, with a number of twists, one of which is the bad characters become good and the good characters become bad. And the ending is well worth waiting for.