Lost and Gone Forever: A Novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad. Alex Grecian. Penguin Publishing Group (USA). May 2016. 384 pp. ISBN#: 9780399176104.
Inspector Walter Day was kidnapped and held for one year by a man named “Jack.” Whatever the latter inflicted upon Day, he no longer has any memory of his previous life. Now he manages to escape, although he does so with great trepidation as he fears Jack is just around every corner waiting to grab Day and return him to his imprisonment. Little by little, he inches his way back into society, shaping and selling old cigarette and cigar butts he has reformed into new products. He even manages to enlist homeless urchins to assist him and pays them for their efforts.
Day’s old friend, Nevil Hammersmith, a former Sergeant who lost his job over a case that also involved the disappearance of Day, has formed a private investigation agency with two female assistants. Although he takes on new cases, his obsession is finding Day. He even hires two bounty hunters to find and eliminate Jack, believing if he is removed Day will reappear. However, the two chilling bounty hunters are about much more than heeding Hammersmith. The reader wonders if this “Saucy” Jack is really Jack the Ripper, the killer who was feared by every decent British citizen.
Even Hattie, Hammersmith’s assistant, gets involved in the missing persons search. The owner of a brand new, gaudy and innovative department store (new for that time period of the late 1800s) is also involved accidentally and undergoes a dramatic transformation.
The mystery will be solved but one must journey through several harrowing scenes and a very handy, albeit somewhat contrived, resolution for all characters that should greatly please lovers of the crime/thriller genre. This reviewer has not read the previous books in the series, but that doesn’t matter as this is a fine stand-alone mystery that will probably draw readers to read the other novels as well. Nicely crafted, Alex Grecian!