I am delighted to be finally reviewing this outstanding debut, “Thin Air”, from Lisa Gray. I’ve met Lisa at many stages through her writing career and have listened to her self-doubt about the novel she was writing. Well, Lisa, I have to tell you, now that your baby is out in the big wide world, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You have nailed this!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
She investigates missing persons—now she is one.
Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.
Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten. Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute. A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.
To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there. But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.
This highly anticipated debut “Thin Air” from Scottish author Lisa Gray, tempted me in with an intriguing synopsis and it didn’t fail on delivery. Thin Air is an outstanding debut and Lisa Gray is a name that you should be looking out for!
Well, when you are delivered a killer hook prologue like this one, you know that you are in for an exhilarating experience. And I was not wrong. The prologue is quickly followed up by an opening chapter that sets the scene for the protagonist, private investigator Jessica Shaw. Jessica is feeling lost in her life, after the death of her father, Tony. We meet Jessica scouring the missing person’s pages online, trying desperately to find some work to keep herself afloat. There is a real sense that she is running from something in her life and that she is very much adrift with no family or friends to help her keep grounded.
Along with Jessica, I was sucker punched when she received an email that is about to blow her whole world apart. Jessica is not who she thinks she is. Jessica has spent her life hunting the missing. Now, Jessica discovers she is missing! And #BOOM we are off! What follows is a nail-biting, cleverly crafted novel that will keep you reading way after bedtime!
The whole concept of this book was superb, imagine discovering you are not who you think you are and that your whole life has been a lie. Jessica is determined to uncover the truth behind her life and in doing so uncovers lie after lie. Her past and present collide as she finds herself getting closer to the truth, but is Jessica going to regret getting in this highly charged investigation into her own disappearance? I am stunned that this is a debut novel, without giving away any spoilers this plot was dynamite! Perfectly paced, totally twisted along with well-rounded characters and an excellent sense of place.
I had wondered why a Scottish author decided to move to the sunnier climes of LA but I have to say that she got it down to a T! She created a realistic picture with just the right level of detail opening up the highways and downtown LA Hollywood across the pages. I have never been to LA, so I have no idea if the description is accurate but what Lisa Gray did achieve was to bring the location to life for me. The sights, sounds and smells all seemed so real that it felt like I was there!
The author marries up her own background in journalism with an engaging and compelling plot resulting in a read that I just could not put down. If it hadn’t been for real life interrupting I could have easily read this in one sitting!
The characters were believable and I was intrigued from the outset as to how they all connected and this is brilliantly uncovered as you fall deeper into the story. Jessica Shaw was a refreshing change as a protagonist, tough and feisty without becoming a caricature, it was impossible not to be on her side. Her relationships with those she met on her journey were carefully built on leaving me with a desperate need for the next instalment in the Jessica Shaw journey!
I do hope that Jason Pryce features again in future novels featuring Jessica Shaw. Although his role in this novel was tied to Jessica’s story, there was enough depth to him that left me wanting more!
As the plot unfolds the tension rises and I found myself suspecting almost everyone that Jessica came across. Clever twists and turns kept me guessing all the way to the very end!
Thin Air ticked all my boxes, characters, plot and sense of place all married together to provide an outstanding debut novel. The writing flows effortlessly, the storyline is unique and refreshing and you will be transported to LA, what’s not to like! Don’t miss it! I really mean this, DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!
Thin Air is available to pre-order from:
About the author:
Lisa Gray has been writing professionally for years, serving as the chief Scottish soccer writer at the Press Association and the books editor at the Daily Record Saturday Magazine. Lisa currently works as a journalist for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail. THIN AIR is her first crime novel.
Learn more at http://www.lisagraywriter.com and sign up for Lisa’s newsletter at goo.gl/XQkyBh. You can also connect with Lisa on social media @lisagraywriter
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