The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal

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“His desperation is so fresh and raw I can almost taste it.”

— Sheena Kamal, The Lost Ones

    The lies we tell each other will always be followed by the truth. If there’s one thing that seems to be inevitable, it’s the past that forged us into the person we are today. Sheena Kamal’s debut thriller demonstrates her ability to develop a greatly flawed protagonist in Nora Watts as she is thrown into a dark road to the truth. In The Lost Ones, Nora Watts receives an unexpected call from desperate parents who claim their daughter has gone missing—a daughter that is also Nora Watts’. Drawn by a compelling urge to seek out a child that she had given away years ago in order to sever ties with a past that no mortal would want to hold onto, Nora Watts finds herself drifting down lanes that never make any sense until the pieces finally fit together and unveil the danger that remained in the shadow for far too long. Told in first-person, Sheena Kamal has succeeded in creating one of the most fascinating protagonist that easily reminds us of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    With relatively short chapters, The Lost Ones easily immerses you into a grey and gloomy world seen through the eyes of a damaged and hard-shelled protagonist. Nora Watts’ past is one that is filled with severely harmful trauma and it doesn’t take long before you recognize her bleak perception of the world. There is nothing colourful or remotely beautiful in what Nora Watts sees in the world she lives in. It might actually be the first time that I’ve read a character who’s had a lot of bad things to say about Canada and its politics. Not only does it add to the darker tone of this book, but it also balances things out with the more joyful and optimistic visions we have about life. Having the story set mostly in Canada, Sheena Kamal also succeeds in incorporating a lot of history and social issues that permeate in the country, especially when it concerns Native Americans. Using Nora Watts as a vessel to divulge the prejudices and cruelty that has reigned on these people only shaped her character even more.

    Nora Watts is also particularly skillful as a private investigator. Although often resourceful—or maybe I should say opportunistic—she shows a great talent in detecting lies whenever they have the unfortunate idea of showing up near her. Her nature to be quite straight-forward and sometimes really crude also helps her distance herself from everyone and rarely ever finds herself attached to anyone. Having suffered some really horrible events in the past has brought her to adapt into a minimalist lifestyle where happiness remains a slim and often unimportant part of her. However, Sheena Kamal integrates a companion to Nora Watts with Shadow, a sex-crazy canine and delivers some of the most amusing bonds to come to life. Their interaction remains one of the best pieces of dialogue in this book and also serves as a nice venue to understand the amount of hurt and loneliness that Nora Watts cohabits with.

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    If I were to recommend this book based solely on the protagonist’s taste in music, you’d never hear the last of me. Sheena Kamal has brought to life a truly fantastic character with a solid story for fans to rejoice at. Although it sometimes pushes the boundaries of realism and obliged me to extend my range for level of plausibility, the story in itself remained captivating and thoroughly entertaining. In fact, the story will suddenly dive into some pretty dull subjects (i.e. mining corporation dilemmas) that would normally keep my level of excitement low, but the bigger picture was a bit too tantalizing for me to let these elements ruin the experience. In the end, The Lost Ones serves us with a raw and obscure thriller that explores the bonds within family and the search for the truth. With this debut novel, I was able to enjoy a well-written story that starred a protagonist that is not likely to be soon forgotten. Sheena Kamal definitely knows what she’s doing and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what she’d come up with next.


THANK YOU TO HARPER COLLINS CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

Are you interested in The Lost Ones?
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆/

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27 thoughts on “The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal

  1. Nikola (Breathing Through Pages) says:

    ‘Sheena Kamal has succeeded in creating one of the most fascinating protagonist that easily reminds us of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ Woah that’s interesting! Once again you’ve written a great review which makes me want to check this book out now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Between you and me, I still have yet to read that classic thriller. 😀 I did however watch the movie with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and I’m convinced that Lisbeth and Nora are pretty similar on some levels. I do hope to read Stieg Larsson’s series in the near future! 😀 Thanks man, for reading. Always appreciate your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    I’m definitely intrigued by this sex-crazed canine and the conversations Nora had with him… Lashaan, also I can appreciate the idea that the author used the big picture and fit puzzle pieces into it through the course of the story. I actually wish this were a movie because that is how I enjoy thrillers at 2 hours a pop, thank you very much… though I’m very tempted by this one (due to your review, of course!) it may find its way to my TBR…! Thanks, Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Ahahaha that dog was an unexpected surprise. The chemistry between them was really well-done if you ask me. Honestly, this would be an excellent action-packed thriller movie. The elements that seemed to stretch the whole realism element of the book would’ve been even easier to accept and enjoy on the big screen. Thank you so much for stopping by, Dani!! 😀

      Like

  3. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    Two things that you mention that already want to make me want to read this one, namely the mention of a private investigator (I’ve read so many detective and police procedurals lately it would be refreshing to read about a private investigator) and the mention of Shadow. Their interaction sounds wonderful! Just one question, what music does she love exactly?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Ohhh, I know what you mean hahahah Especially when you go through them so fast and through so many, that need for change is definitely warranted. 😛 That dog was a nice plus indeed. I didn’t expect it to click so well, but I’m glad it worked out pretty well without being focused on too much. Ahahaha, tickled your curiosity with the whole music thing, didn’t I? 😛 You’re going to have to read the book to find out!!! Okay, okay. I won’t be that mean hahah I thought it was nice that there would be quick mentions to a couple of classic soul/jazz artists that I love to listen to, like Louis Armstrong or Nina Simone. 😀 It definitely helps when these subtle references are actually things I like rather than artists that I hate or never heard of, you know? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

        I know, I read about series and actors I don’t know all the time because they are just not famous here and I’m almost ashamed to say but I don’t get any Games of Thrones references because I never saw an episode. You can slap me now :-). I read a chicklit novel once with all sorts of ’80s references, that was so nice! Very cool to have soul/jazz here, orginal.. Louis Armstrong is a legend of course!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Thanks Liz! My thoughts exactly. 🙂 If there’s one thing this book succeeded in doing, it’s to make me pick up my dusty copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (yeh… I haven’t read it yet… It’s one of those first books I’ve ALWAYS wanted to read). I’ve only seen the movie with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara though (excellent stuff!!). 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karina Pinella says:

    Actually, I’ve been reading as many as I can because quite a lot of new books, as well as new writers have gotten my attention. Hence, my lack of writing or progress in getting out that humor book I thought I would have (self) published by now. I had finished reading recently the books listed below. They are mostly book series from authors I have already reviewed and that is why I haven’t posted them. I just update the list I included in the book reviews I’ve already done on those authors with book series.
    The Obsidian Chamber by Preston & Child; The Most Dangerous Place by James Grippando, Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz, The Damned by Andrew Pyper, and right this minute, I am finishing The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver. I got two books sitting on my coffee table now that are in queue to be read. I am also working on a short story mini-series I plan on posting for later this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Oh, thank you so much for that thorough list hahah I recognize a lot of those authors and I continue to be greatly impressed by how you’ve been able to read these super long series and be pretty much up to date with these authors’ series. 😀 I definitely know what you mean by new and interesting books that pop up as time flies. It really is bothersome for me too… when I soooo want to read a bunch of older books that I’ve got on my bookshelves. I do hope you’ll be able to publish that book of yours soon enough, especially when you feel like it’s complete! Happy reading, Karina! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    This sounds like a great book Lashaan, and after the last one you reviewed where the character development was lacking in places this one must have been a nice change because Nora sounds like an incredibly written character. Also, oh, the introduction of a sex-crazy canine character is brilliant. That must have made for some really funny scenes!
    Great review, and I’m really glad you enjoyed this book too. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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