The Island of Lost Girls: A Novel (Paperback)

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“A stunning, genre-defying novel, poetic, immersive, and as dazzling as the Mediterranean sun even as it pulls the reader through the darkest corridors of human behavior. I was totally mesmerized. . . . Alex Marwood is in a class of her own.”—Lisa Jewell

“A stiletto of a novel: heart stopping and devastating.”—Jenny Colgan

Sun-drenched glamour and obscene wealth hide evil secrets in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller about money, corruption, power and lost innocence from “one of crime fiction's brightest stars” (Megan Abbott), the Edgar and Macavity Award-winning author of The Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door.

It's paradise for the super-rich, but hell for the girls whose lives they've stolen


To twelve-year-old Mercedes, La Kastellana is home, an island with deep-rooted traditions untouched by the modern world. But this secluded paradise is upended with the arrival of multimillionaire Matthew Meade and his pampered young daughter, Tatiana. While the Meades lavishly spread unimaginable wealth around La Kastellana, the price Mercedes and the rest of the islanders will pay is more than they could ever have imagined.


Robin has been desperately searching for her seventeen-year-old daughter Gemma, who’s been missing for more than a year. Finding herself on La Kastellana, an island playground for the international jet set, Robin quickly realizes she’s out of her depth. No one is willing to help and Robin fears she’s running out of time to find her child.

But someone has been watching, silently waiting for the moment to expose the dark truth of what really happens on the island of lost girls.

About the Author

Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of a former journalist who has worked extensively in the British press. She is the author of the word-of-mouth sensation The Wicked Girls, which won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original; The Killer Next Door, which won a Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel; The Darkest Secret; and The Poison Garden. Her novels have been short-listed for numerous crime writing awards and been optioned for the screen. She lives in south London.

Praise For…

"A stunning, genre-defying novel, poetic, immersive, and as dazzling as the Mediterranean sun even as it pulls the reader through the darkest corridors of human behavior. I was totally mesmerized, from the beautiful, slow-burn opening chapters right through to the gripping, stomach-churning finale. Alex Marwood is in a class of her own." — Lisa Jewell, author of The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone

"One of crime fiction's brightest stars." — Megan Abbott, author of The Turnout

"A stiletto of a novel: heart stopping and devastating." — Jenny Colgan, author of An Island Wedding and The Bookshop on the Corner

"Gripping, timely and beautifully written. Marwood blends story-telling prowess with characters so real that we inhabit their predicaments quite viscerally. The result is irresistible." — Sophie Hannah, author of The Killings at Kingfisher Hill

"A ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that is both compassionate and chilling . . . I couldn't put it down." — Mark Edwards, author of The Hollows

"A blisteringly immersive summer read." — Emma Styles, author of No Country for Girls

"No author is better suited to such grim material than Alex Marwood, who has a gift for dramatizing the most irredeemably toxic characters and situations. This meticulously plotted tale tacks dexterously between past and present, and the unfolding revelations feel both shocking and inevitable . . . beautiful and terrifying."  — Irish Times

"This thriller travels to some very dark places: missing girls, cruel traditions, abusive fathers. Where it shines brightest, though, is in its insightful, compassionate depiction of the relationship between Robin and Gemma." — The Observer

“An absorbing page-turner I didn’t want to put down. . . . If you’re the kind of reader who loves dark stories, where the hearts are barely beating, then you’ll love the slow burn chill in The Island of Lost Girls, whose web of a plot draws you in until you can’t imagine an escape.” — Entertainment Focus

“Pulses with mythic energy and devilishly clever storytelling.” — Irish Times, Best Books of 2022

“The idyllic Mediterranean isle of La Kastellana is fictional, but much of what transpires there is all too real in this disturbing thriller. . . . Marwood builds her ripped-from-the-headlines premise into something sprawling and admirably ambitious.” — Publishers Weekly

“In addition to the story of a mother and daughter, Marwood wrings unlikely suspense from the fate of the tourism industry: Will the island become ‘the new Capri,’ as Meade is advertising it, or will the disappearing girls scare off the professional partiers?” — Washington Post

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063282230
ISBN-10: 0063282232
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 13th, 2023
Pages: 480
Language: English