What Was Lost
What Was Lost by Jean Levy is a gripping, mind-boggling psychological thriller which takes you on a journey through a woman’s memory and consciousness as she attempts to suppress and recover details and events before everything went blank. Reminiscent of The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, What Was Lost captures its readers as they try to uncover the truth behind the story. This is an unputdownable, must-read for 2018. What Was Lost by Jean Levy is out now from The Dome Press.
What Was Lost by Jean Levy follows Sarah, a middle-aged children’s author who is currently living alone following an incident which left her passed out on a beach in the middle of nowhere with no memory of the past 20 years. In order to try to help her, neurologists and memory specialists have arranged for there to be no contact with her friends and family from the missing time. She is alone except for weekly visits to the doctors, a regular cleaner and a woman who comes to check on her twice a week. Her life is seemingly simple with no sign of regaining the memories, until she meets a familiar man in the supermarket.
Why I love this novel
Firstly, even if you are not a fan of thrillers, you must read this for the simple beauty of the writing itself. Levy is a talented author and I am excited to read more of her work, due to her command of language throughout to accurately capture the mood of a person or place. Also, it is certainly not a typical thriller, and I enjoyed hearing things from Sarah’s perspective without constantly watching her back in case the husband would come out and stab her in it. I felt that the representation of the mental illness that Sarah is clearly suffering from, including remnants of PTSD was done impeccably well, with the way that sound would drown her thoughts once again feeling incredibly accurate when compared with panic attacks and similar mental breakdowns.
Also, Sarah is a very likeable character. She has charisma and sass, and does not just take things at face value, as I feel that many women do in these kinds of novels. She is intelligent, and I particularly liked the way that Levy included flashbacks to when she was trying to get published, and the current experience of her trying to get back into writing without any memory of how she started. Furthermore, I loved the complexity of the characters in this novel. I liked how there wasn’t just one ‘villainous’ character, and how you became suspicious of everybody at different points, even the cat!
Overall, I feel like all other crime and thriller writers need to take note. This is some seriously talented writing, plotting, characterisation and description. The standard has been set from here on out, and I hope that it continues to rise. I would recommend this novel to anybody who enjoys gentler thrillers (less gory and murderous), with scientific/medical elements and strong female lead characters. Thank you so much to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for my proof copy, which I devoured on the beach in Ibiza! Buy it now.