The Lost Boy

Author: Jane Renshaw
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Date Published: July 10, 2022


One island. Two women. A journey to hell.

The Clarke family, Penny, Rod and their two young boys, are delighted when they are offered a holiday in a high-end guest house on a remote and beautiful island.

Their hostess Anna seems like a lovely woman. But what the Clarkes don’t realise is that this is no random invitation, that Anna has carefully selected the family to satisfy her own sinister agenda.

Penny soon begins to sense there’s something off about Anna. She often speaks about her husband and son, but is it odd that they are both away? And that Anna seems perfectly content to be alone in this isolated place?

And then there’s the way she looks at Penny’s boys – as if she’s sizing up chickens for the slaughter.

Penny grows increasingly uneasy and begins to do a bit of digging, which leads to a horrifying discovery – she finally realises who Anna is, and then she knows exactly why they’ve been invited to the island.

She also knows that if she and her family are ever going to leave, they’ll have to fight for their lives… and find the answer to one terrifying question – how far would you go for the people you love?


This was a dark thriller with beautifully written descriptions of the fictional island of Faida. The author translates the Gaelic and Scottish words (e.g., Traigh Bheag – the small beach). It was interesting to read about the different landscapes and birds of the island.

Anna was a little strange from the get-go, with her crazy smile and constant contact with her houseguests. Her husband and son were away, and the rest of the guest cottages were closed for renovation, so the Clarke family had the run of the island. Which probably isn’t a good thing when you have two willful and adventurous boys.

Soon enough, one of the boys takes his exploration a little too far and winds up in trouble. While his dad, Rod, is very concerned, mom Penny seems content to camouflage her worry with work and wine. Anna starts to see the disconnect between husband and wife, and soon has Rod telling her confidences.

I love how the author had us sympathizing with the Clarkes but agreeing with Anna that the boys were just spoiled beyond reason. By the end, my heart and mind had shifted completely.

Thanks to NetGalley, Inkubator and Booksprout for an advanced reader’s copy.

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