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by Russel D. McLean

Download The Lost Sister eBook
Russel D. McLean
Minotaur Books (March 15, 2011)
304 pages
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The three J’s. Every Dundonian kid was taught about them in history class. Every university student lectured on it during their orientation itage of Dundee. Except they weren’t the three J’s because that first one was really an M. Marmalade. But, like the three R’s of education, the three J’s stuck because they sounded right. Journalism still thrived. DC Thompsons remained a driving force in the UK publishing industry. The Courier, The Sunday Post and even The Evening Telegraph remained key in Scottish reporting.

In Russel D. McLean's The Lost Sister, a teenage girl is missing. Her godfather is a known criminal and her mother is hiding a dark secret. For Private Investigator J. McNee, what starts as a favor for a friend soon becomes a nightmare as he races to find the girl before it's too late.

The Lost Sister book. See a Problem? We’d love your help. Details (if other): Cancel. Thanks for telling us about the problem. J. McNee by. Russel D. McLean (Goodreads Author).

Russel D. McLean's writing remains every bit as compelling, focussed and gritty in The Lost Sister as it was in his first novel: though he has brought to his second book a more flowing and assured style that presumably comes from the simple fact that this is no longer his debut. The result is a compulsive page-turner that draws you in and refuses to let you go until you have ridden the plot all the way to a climax every bit as unexpected and violent as he achieved at the end of J McNee's first outing.

I want another book about this Dundee .

Read the best books by Russel D. McLean and . His short fiction has been published in crime fiction magazines worldwide. The first three novels featuring Dundonian PI J McNee are, THE GOOD SON, THE LOST SISTER and FATHER CONFESSOR.

His short fiction has been published in crime fiction magazines worldwide. His early short stories have been collected digitally in the collection, THE DEATH OF RONNIE SWEETS (and other stories).

A teenage girl is missing. Her godfather is a known criminal and her mother is hiding a dark secret. For Private Investigator J. McNee, what starts as a favor for a friend soon becomes a nightmare as he races to find the girl before it’s too late.
  • Beazekelv
P.I. J. McNee doesn't half get beaten up, kicked, punched, kicked again...but somehow manages to stagger his way through McLean's second tale set in the mean streets of Dundee, Scotland's hidden and strange secret city.
Crime fans will be very familiar with MacBride's Aberdeen, McIlvanney's Glasgow or Rankin's Edinburgh; but who would ever have thought of choosing Dundee as a setting for their novel? A city whose glory days are gone, whose future looks bleak?
McLean has grasped the persona of Dundee; the comic home of Desperate Dan of The Dandy fame, famous for marmalade and The Sunday Post, and brings to life characters who live out their lives in the grey and grim streets of a city that teeters on the brink of collapse whilst managing to retain a generous underbelly of self mocking humour.
McNee, a former police officer, has lost all sense of direction in his life after the death of his girlfriend in a car crash. A P.I's life in Dundee is certainly not glamorous and while still nursing the after effects of a serious injury, McNee is forced to face his enemies and his personal beliefs in The Lost Sister.
The story McLean hooks the reader into so effortlessly surrounds a missing teenager. Nothing especially interesting had happened; when her mother came home from the shop her daughter was gone. Surely a case of a family argument and the teenager taking off to her friend's house? But the police are trying to keep the disappearance under wraps which makes the journalist who involved McNee suspicious. Very soon McLean plants his first bombshell; the missing girl has a surprising uncle and godfather; David Burns, the local hero in some people's eyes, who wants to help rejuvenate the city; but to others, especially McNee, the local Mr. Big who is 'untochable. Except he's knuckle deep in drug money, extortion rackets, underground deals, blackmail. You name it, he's behind it.'
McLean takes the reader on a series of twists and turns, bewildering not only the reader but McNee himself. If you are a Tartan Noir fan then you will not be disappointed with The Lost Sister. If you are a noir fan living in the depths of Louisiana or Chicago and you know nothing of the world that McNee inhabits, you will be in for a rare treat. Scotland lends itself well to the noir tradition but Dundee basks and wallows in the bare knuckles and concrete landings of McLean's superb novel.
  • fabscf
As I read THE LOST SISTER, I couldn't help but see the many similarities to Ken Bruen: the isolation of the central character/narrator, his brutal past, his tenuous current relationships, his run-ins with authority, his jaded/cynical views masking an underlying idealism. And McLean writes about Dundee, Scotland in much the same way that Bruen writes about Galway, Ireland.

The narrator, McNee (who doesn't like to be called by his first name, so we never really know what it is), agrees to help a journalist friend investigate the disappearance of a sixteen-year-old girl who seemed happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. Because business is slow (he's a PI), McNee takes on the job pro bono, and soon finds himself running into a major underworld figure whom he's tussled with before; he also comes to realize that corruption in the Scottish police force is rampant despite supposed attempts to clean it up.

THE LOST SISTER is a fast read, but the plot is really very minimal. There's not much detection going on, and a few issues are never resolved. (For example, early in the book, McNee's office is broken into, but we never find out why, though I suppose there are certain assumptions we can make based on the book's resolution.) The characters are well drawn, but there's nothing here that Ken Bruen hasn't already done. I couldn't quite buy the supposed motivation of the missing girl, and the assassination of a particular character at the end seemed to come out of nowhere - again, because the motivation seems to be missing and is out of line with the assassin's character as it's been explored up to that point.

Ultimately, I felt that THE LOST SISTER meanders quite a bit and doesn't have the tightness/focus that I so like in Ken Bruen's books. Also, I couldn't believe the number of typos in this book. Dozens and dozens of them, and that put me off. But I do think McLean is a good writer; I just wish he had carved out his own niche. I also wish the publisher had hired a proofreader. I paid a good money for a hardcover, but all those typos makes the book feel more like a pulp novel that was knocked off in a week.