“It should concern you that Al Capone is our measuring stick.”
-Detective Cassano, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, by Stephanie Morrill
Today is the release date for this amazing novel. I had the pleasure of being on the launch team for Lost Girl, and today I’m part of a blog scavenger hunt. There’s a clue at the end of this post, along with links to other participating bloggers. If you put the clues together and enter them at the end, you will be entered to win a copy of The Lost Girl of Astor Street. You can start the hunt here.
It’s 1924 and Chicago is rife with gangsters and danger, and it is into this dark underworld that Lydia LeVine has vanished. The day Lydia went missing, Piper was the last to see her. She saw her friend to her gate and watched her wave goodbye, just before she walked away into oblivion.
Piper is heartbroken, but heartbreak cannot stop her from finding out what happened to her dearest friend. There’s a lot wanting for explanation. Lydia’s seizures; Mr. Barrow’s questionable behavior; the disappearance of the LeVine’s chauffeur. When the trail goes cold, the police lose interest, but not Piper. Not even the perils of Chicago’s warring gangs seems to faze her as she investigates. But the trail seems to be straying from the bad parts of town, leading her ever closer to Astor Street and home. As Piper investigates with the help of Detective Cassano and other friends, it begins to become clear that Lydia’s disappearance was only the beginning of things—and Piper might be next.
The plotting in The Lost Girl of Astor Street was almost flawless, on the same level with Agatha Christie. The one thing I could never put together was how Lydia was taken. The clues were all there, but they didn’t fit together. I found the first-person present POV a little incongruous with the setting at the beginning, as I tend to associate it with contemporary novels. But once I was used to the style it was smooth sailing, and it was a page turner to be sure. I was so nervous about what happened that I couldn’t sleep and I had to finish it. That’s never happened before, and I’ve read some pretty amazing books.
Detective Cassano was my favorite character. (Something about his backstory seemed a little cliche to me, but I couldn’t really pin down what.)
My favorite parts were when Emma goes with Piper to spy on Robbie, (it had me so scared. O.O ) and the part where Piper comes downstairs in the middle of the night and finds Mr. Sail sitting with his shotgun. It was a really shocking moment and was one of the most real to me. But despite it’s intensity and tear-jerking qualities, The Lost Girl of Astor Street had it’s fair share of humor. The banter was funny without being over-contrived and had me laughing out loud several times.
The worldbuilding was also very well done. I didn’t get the Downton Abbey vibe–there’s nothing genteel and British about Chicago in the 1920’s. But it was vibrantly lovely. I live a couple hours from Chicago and visit regularly so I’m relatively familiar with it. (It also brought home the point that it’s never really been the safest city.)
It’s not a novel for the faint of heart, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone 16 and under. I know I wouldn’t have been comfortable reading it until last year because (Highlight for spoiler:) Piper is concerned that Lydia was trafficked and goes to look for her with Detective Cassano in a disreputable part of town. It comes to nothing, but her fears are very justifiable and I probably wouldn’t have been comfortable reading that part until very recently. There is mention of a married man having a girlfriend, and Piper goes to a speakeasy with Walter looking for answers, but apart from that the book was very clean and the lack of language was refreshing. I have to take off a star because of those reasons. It would be more, but the rest of the book was so incredibly written that I can only bear to take off one. 😀
I received a free copy of The Lost Girl of Astor Street via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
And here’s the clue: About
The other blogs in the clue hunt are listed in order below:
Clue 1: Stephanie Morrill
Clue 2: Some Books Are
Clue 3: Gabriella Slade
Clue 4: Page by Page, Book by Book
Clue 5: Pens and Scrolls
Clue 6: Singing Librarian Books
Clue 7: Heather Manning
Clue 8: Annie Louise Twitchell
Clue 9: Noveling Novelties
Clue 10: Kaitee Hart
Clue 11: Classics and Craziness
Clue 12: Zerina Blossom
Clue 13: Rebecca Morgan
Clue 14: Keturah’s Korner
Clue 15: That Book Gal
Clue 16: Anna Schaeffer
Clue 17: Hadley Grace
Clue 18: Lydia Howe
Clue 19: Ramblings by Bethany
Clue 20: Matilda Sjöholm
Clue 21: Lydia Carns
Clue 22: Broken Birdsong
Clue 23 & Clue 24: The Ink Loft
Clue 25: Roseanna M. White