Lost Souls is a murder who-done-it that will keep you turning the pages to find out the next twist, one important test of a mystery novel; not too much side-show but enough to know where you are and who the people in story are. There is a persistent level of realism in the plain surroundings & the way the author develops the characters.
The novel begins with the murder of a child dressed for trick or treat that occurs in a small Midwestern town which endures sinking financial prospects and only their football team's hopes for a victory at the finals to offset the downhill fall
for a while. The first of several murders it is told to us by Lawrence the local cop, who is going through life crises. He seems to know what he should do but at each fork in the road he takes the easy path. We meet other people who are suspects not just to the murders but doing their best to cover up the facts. They like Lawrence have their own demons and will provide him no solace, in the narrow path to the truth.
Among the acts of petty vandalism and various teenage pranks played on Halloween night, a true tragedy is discovered. A local police officer finds the body of a little girl, dressed as an angel, concealed in a pile of autumn leaves. With the streets full of trick-or-treating children, it looks like she might have been the victim of a hit-and-run. But how did a three-year-old child come to be hiding there alone in the dark, dressed in her flimsy costume? And why were the child's feet bare?
As the investigation proceeds and the media's spotlight intensifies, a much more ominous story unfolds. It's the typical story the media thrives on - a ghastly crime, a bungled cover-up, and tantalizing rumors of an innocence defiled. While the mayor and chief of police conspire to divert attention from the primary suspect - a local high school football hero whom they hope will take their town all the way to the state championship - it is left to the man who discovered the child's body to find the truth beneath the cover-up.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I found the lead character very sympathetic - I felt so sorry for him, and the position that he found himself in. The plot was very intricate, and had me wondering who could have committed the crime right from the beginning. I will say that the mystery left me with several unanswered questions in my mind, and that left me slightly perplexed. Overall though, I give Lost Souls by Michael Collins an A! - it really was very good.
Interesting, but the ending disappointed me