Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Lost Kings by Tyrell Johnson
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Published by Penguin Audio on August 2, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 9 hours, 23 minutes
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One night when Jeanie King is 12-years-old, her father comes home covered in blood. The next day, Jeanie wakes up alone. Her father has disappeared and he's taken her beloved twin brother, Jamie. Inevitably, this loss leads to others, as Jeanie is ripped from her life in rural Washington and her childhood love, Maddox.
Twenty years later, Jeanie, now in England, keeps her demons at bay by drinking too much, sleeping with a married man, and speaking to a therapist she doesn't respect. But her past catches up to her in the form of Maddox, who shows up at her dead-end job with a proposition: he's found her father, he says, will she come with him to confront her dad and find out what really happened that night, what really happened to Jamie?
Jeanie narrates the whole story for us in The Lost Kings. She is very odd but she has had many bad shocks in her life. She’s never really had anyone who cared for her or supported her after her mother died. She ends up with her aunt and uncle, where she lived until her father came back from the military. Her father takes her to a cabin in a secluded area. She makes a friend here, Maddox. But then her father takes off and she is back at her aunt and uncle’s house and now they have a child of their own. Jeanie just drifts on the edge of trouble until she decides she wants to go to college in England where her mother was raised. She works to improve her grades and goes to Oxford to study psychology.
After 15 years there, she is just working a casual retail job, living mostly on her inheritance from her mother. She is having an affair with a married man but also sleeps with other men. She lives next door to her college roommate but doesn’t really have anyone. Then Maddox finds her and tells her he thinks he has found her father.
The discovery sends her on a journey to discover the truths about her past and set her course for the future.
It was hard to like Jeanie very much although it was easy to worry about her making bad choices. So much was confusing about her family and how she managed. Certainly her father was not the best father. The big mystery throughout was why Jeanie was abandoned and that is solved. There were some huge twists and I guess I didn’t really like them or the ending. The book is well-written and I loved the author’s other book, but others may enjoy this more than me.
I’ve listened to this narrator before and enjoyed her work. The main voice here was Jeanie, in her thoughts and speech, with limited others in dialogue. I was very comfortable with the tone and quality of the performance. I was able to listen at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Jeannie does sound like a hard character to like. And it’s too bad the ending wasn’t better. I did like Johnson’s The Wolves of Winter, but the story line in this one doesn’t really appeal to me.
I loved the Wolves of Winter so much. I was very excited to read more of this author’s work. Intellectually I see the beauty of this story and how well crafted it is, but it wasn’t enjoyable with characters who I didn’t like too much.
It’s tough when you’re not bonding with the main character. Glad you were able to find other redeeming qualities about the story, Anne.
Thanks Jonetta. It’s an odd one.
It’s tough to read a book when you don’t like the characters, even when it’s so well written
yes but while some parts didn’t work for me others may love it.
If you didn’t like the ending… I don’t know
Well someone else might like it better than me.
I feel like I have listened to an audio by this narrator before…
I listened to his Wolves of Winter and it still grips me. I really loved it.
I don’t usually read thrillers, but this book captured my mind. I was obsessed with finding out what happened to Jeanie and why she was so messed up. Personally, I loved the surprise ending as it really didn’t feel cliche to me. I didn’t see the twist coming at all. What a read!
It was definitely engrossing and I wanted to know what really happened. I just didn’t like Jeanie very much.