I am a cover girl! Yes, I admit it. If the cover doesn´t look good (in my eyes!), I am hard to convince to read the book that´s behind it. And I tell you something else: I was sneaking around Stolen Souls for quite some time now. My library moved into new rooms and there it was that I noticed the title for the first time. I didn´t know the author before but the German cover kind of fascinated me. The text on the back sounded interesting too, so I took it; and what can I say? This thriller was WOW!  

Stolen Souls
by Stuart Neville
Jack Lennon #3
Publisher Soho Crime on September 4, 2012
Genre Thriller
Pages 354
Format Paperback
Source Library

Galya Petrova travels to Ireland on a promise that she will work for a nice Russian family, teaching their children English. Instead, she is dragged into the world of modern slavery, sold to a Belfast brothel, and held there against her will. She escapes at a terrible cost – the slaying of one of her captors – and takes refuge with a man who offers his help. As the traffickers she fled scour the city for her, seeking revenge for their fallen comrade, Galya faces an even greater danger: her savior is not what he seems. She is not the first trafficked girl to have crossed his threshold, and she must fight to avoid their fate. Detective Inspector Jack Lennon wants a quiet Christmas with his daughter, but when an apparent turf war between rival gangs leaves bodies across the city, he knows he won´t get it. As he digs deeper into the case, he realizes an escaped prostitute is the cause of the violence, and soon he is locked in a deadly race with two very different killers.
Jack Lennon is called to a crime scene. It is Christmas and he´s actually off duty, but one of his bosses has become his enemy and so he has no other choice but to take the night shift – very much to the displeasure of his little girl. A corps, a hurt police officer, and a missing suspect, Jack is digging into a scene he is somehow familiar with and discovers things that make him rethink how he used to handle a few certain things himself. And when he finally finds the real evil in this cruel and bloody game, his life is as much at stake as the life of the ones he´s trying to protect.

Stuart Neville has a haunting writing style, simple but very thrilling. The reading speed is efficient, every few seconds happens something you totally don´t expect to happen and the scenery is quite something. Bloody scenes go hand in hand with barbarous ones, the figures have their own demons to deal with, and there isn´t one figure in here who has none. Stolen Souls is wonderful to read a thriller where you don´t need to have any knowledge about Jack Lennon at all and the plot itself is a self-contained story, but the backstory about Jack and his life seems to be something you can watch develop through the first two books of this series. And since in the plot is a lot of back reference to the former two books, I suggest you better read them in turn, to get the full picture – because it seems that Jack already had a lot to deal with and that those things still affect his private life as well as his job. 

The thriller is written in the figural narrative situation and structured in four parts. Each part has the name of a character and as the story unfolds the reader gets to know a bit more of what´s behind all this. It isn´t always pretty what you get to read because most of the figures share hardship and poverty and you discover how they made their way out of it – and not all those ways are nice and legal. But how the author describes them, how he gives you that information bit by bit, is wonderful put into words and scenes. Stuart Neville uses words with grace and a high standard without losing the sharpness the plot requires. There is a strength in his sentences, a power between every page – it won´t leave you cold.

There is a character who is a cocaine addict and rich as hell, a figure who does all the dirty work for him, a young woman who has an inner strength that is beyond anything and there is Jack Lennon. Stuart Neville created a bunch of figures in this thriller that couldn´t be any darker or convincing. He gives an insight into prostitution and human trafficking and shows how evil has its share in it. 

Galya is one hell of a fantastic young woman. I don´t know where she took her strength to do what she did in this great story. She is only one tiny little woman, slim as a stick but you don´t want to mess with her. 

Jack has quite a past behind him and a future in front of him that usually would be a wonderful one. He got his daughter with him, they both start to heal from all the evil they had to suffer in the past and everything could be fine for them, if there weren´t the family of his daughter´s dead mother. Frankly said he has to fight for anything.

Stolen Souls is a great thriller, with the right combination of dark, hate, passion, pain, and the beauty of a great landscape. 

Happy reading

Stuart Neville
Stuart Neville ©Greg Haire/Hardlight Studios

Stuart Neville, born 1972 in Armagh, Northern Ireland, was a musician, a composer, a teacher, a salesman, a film extra, a baker and a hand double for a well known Irish comedian. But currently, he is a partner in a successful multimedia design business in the wilds of Northern Ireland. With his debut novel The Ghosts of Belfast, he won the Mystery/Thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was picked as one of the top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA Times. His novels have been translated into various languages, including German, Japanese, Polish, Swedish, Greek and more. 


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