#blogtour – The Lost Children by Helen Phifer @helenphifer1 @bookouture #extract #suspense

It’s my stop on the tour today for The Lost Children by Helen Phifer. It’s the first in a series featuring Detective Lucy Harwin and sounds truly thrilling.

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to a gurney…

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

Did that sound thrilling to you? If so, read on for a an extract from the prologue:


October 1975

‘Alice? Alice?’ Lizzy hissed.

Ward thirteen was unusually quiet. In fact, it was too quiet, and this was what had disturbed Lizzy. She lay on the too firm mattress, afraid to move because her bed creaked louder than anyone else’s. Alice, who had been there much longer than Lizzy and was almost fifteen, was asleep.

Looking around to see who was still awake, the first thing Lizzy noticed was that Tommy’s bed was empty. This afternoon he’d gone berserk and he’d been taken away for treatment. When they’d brought him back he hadn’t said a word. He’d lain on his bed, staring into space with even more dribble than usual running down his chin. Treatment – the very word struck fear into Lizzy’s heart. She was only nine years old, but she knew well enough that if you didn’t behave they would inject all sorts of poison into your veins and call it medicine. Where was Tommy? It was quarter past four in the morning now, and there were no nurses behind the desk like there usually were. Lizzy pushed herself up on her elbows so she could see into the small staff room behind the desk. This was shrouded in darkness as well. Where was everyone?

Feeling braver now, she tiptoed out of her bed across to Alice’s and tugged her arm. Alice groaned, then turned to look at her.

‘What’s up?’

‘Where’s Tommy?’

Alice sat up. ‘What do you mean?’

Lizzy pointed to his empty, still-made bed.

‘Maybe they let him go home? Go back to sleep, Lizzy.’ ‘ Then why didn’t he take his teddy? And his pyjamas are still on the end of the bed.’

Alice rubbed her eyes, threw her legs out of the bed and walked barefoot across the cold  floor to Tommy’s bed, which was opposite hers. She picked up his teddy, then looked back at Lizzy, who was watching her, and shrugged.

‘I don’t know; maybe he got sick.’

‘This is a hospital; we live here. If he was sick, he’d still be here, wouldn’t he?’

‘I don’t know, Lizzy. Yes, I suppose he would.’

‘They’ve hurt him.’

Alice looked at her carefully and nodded. ‘Yes, they probably have. And we should get back into bed before the nurses come back and catch us, or they might hurt us as well. Best not to ask any of them where he is either.’

Lizzy turned and climbed onto the chair next to her bed to peer out of the large window, which looked out onto the back of the hospital grounds. There were fields, which were nice, and there was a cemetery for the patients who had died here. at wasn’t so nice. It was scary: there were rows and rows of simple wooden crosses, each one marking someone’s grave. On each cross was a number, and Lizzy had asked one of the nicer nurses what the numbers meant. She’d replied that they were the patients’ hospital numbers, so they knew who each one was. Lizzy had wanted to ask her why they didn’t just put the patients’ names on instead, but had been too scared.

A small pinprick of light moved across the path that led from the hospital towards the cemetery.

‘Alice? There’s someone outside with a torch.’

Alice climbed on the chair next to her, pressing her face against the glass. They watched as the beam moved slowly. They could make out a shadowy figure in the dark. Whoever it was moved as if they were dragging something heavy behind them. Lizzy’s small hand slipped into Alice’s and she whispered, ‘What are they doing?’

Alice jumped down off the chair, pulling Lizzy with her before they got caught peeking.

‘I don’t know, but you should get back in bed and don’t say a word to anyone. Or you will end up like Tommy.’

Lizzy clambered back into bed, her heart thudding so fast it was all she could hear. She lay on her side and pulled her covers over her head. What did Alice mean, she would end up like Tommy?

Then she realised what it was that was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to keep herself from screaming.

Ooh, heck! That ended on a cliffhanger. Thank you to Kim Nash and Bookouture for the place on the blog tour. The Lost Children is out now in ebook and paperback. Here are the links to buy it.

Please do go and check out the other great blogs on the tour:

About Helen Phifer
Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingals Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

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