THE FORGOTTEN GIRL by Rio Youers. Review.


Titan Books. p/b. £8.99.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

26-year-old street performer, Harvey, wakes up to another normal day in his normal life. That is until he realises there is nothing normal about it, nor about the day that came before, nor, as he will discover, the many, many days before that. His place is trashed, yet nothing is missing. Mistaken identity, he wonders, or is there more to this than he has grasped? Unfortunately for Harvey, his uninvited visitors are still here, and by no means wielding a gentle hand.

For five years he lived with this woman, or so they say. To Harvey, she means as little as her name. They press harder and she becomes only a dancing girl, the merest flicker of a memory in the absence of many more. Harvey may know nothing but this man who calls himself ‘the spider’ is convinced the young busker is his key to tracking down Sally Starling. And after nine years of searching for her, he is not likely to go easy on Harvey.    

The Forgotten Girl tracks Harvey’s dangerous and harrowing journey to discover his lost past, find the girl at the heart of the mysteries and confront the monster that began it all. The concept here is disturbing – the idea of another having such cruel control over body and mind, with the ability to remove or change memories and inflict pain – and is at times disturbing to read. There is certainly no holding back of the gory details so this is not for the fainthearted.

There is great strength on offer though. Written with a narrative voice that is articulate, practical and drives the strength of the story with good pace and a constant level of tension, Youers has created a successful and powerful thriller that holds the reader’s attention through to the climax and has them rooting for Harvey through each turn and back foot.