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Long Lost    by David Morrell order for
Long Lost
by David Morrell
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Brad Denning's childhood was blighted when his little brother disappeared one day. Brad always felt guilt about his role in sending nine-year-old Petey home alone on his bike, when Brad's friends found him a nuisance at their baseball game. Now Brad is a highly successful Denver architect with a lovely wife Kate and his own small son Jason. Suddenly 'long lost' Petey reappears in his life. After initial suspicion, Brad joyously welcomes Petey into his family, and soon they decide to relive their last good childhood memory of a Colorado camping trip. Jason tags along, and very soon the nightmare begins.

After Brad is pushed off a cliff, he barely survives and struggles home to find his family missing. Was the man responsible really Petey or, as the FBI believe, a psycho named Lester Dant? Brad's belief that it was his brother is tested time and again, but he sticks to it as the only scenario in which his wife and son might still be alive. A year later, having given up on the authorities, Brad tracks down his 'long lost' family himself in an exercise of terrified empathy with the man he believes to be his brother, and with what his loved ones have suffered. In the process he uncovers horrific details of the kidnapper's past and of other victims.

The author lays out his plot carefully, in an elegant (though sinister) design worthy of his architect hero. Long Lost is a relentless chiller with furious action as Brad survives freezing, drowning, fire and even a close encounter with a nest of coiled rattlesnakes, to reach his traumatized family. Read it and be horrified by a master of the genre.

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