The Bottom Line: A harrowing and unforgettable FBI thriller.
On a Navajo reservation in Arizona, 14-year-old George Tokay witnesses the brutal murder of another boy in the desert. FBI Agent Pete Kelliher arrives soon thereafter, and is counting on George’s testimony to find the murderer of the new victim and a dozen others like him.
Kelliher believes the killers are running a sex trafficking operation. Some of the victims had whip marks in their backs. A few others had small brands. All were abducted over a year before their death at between 11-and-12-years of age.
Kelliher and his team are desperate to solve the case, in part because they know just how grim the statistics are. Hundreds of kids go missing each year. Just 32% will be found alive.
In Stolen Lives, author Joseph Lewis continues to tackle delicate subject matter that few can bear to think about, much less craft a thriller around. Lewis dares to get inside the minds of not only the killers, but the adolescent victims. Scenes told from the abductees’ points of view manage to be both heartbreaking and an incredible testament to children’s capacity for survival. The net result is a terrifying but important novel that no reader could possibly forget.
Longtime Lewis fans will welcome back Detective Jamie Graff, who appears in Lewis’ standout books Spiral into Darkness and Caught in a Web. While Stolen Lives, the first in a trilogy, works well as a stand alone, Lewis is becoming something of an auteur. Tribal culture, inter-agency investigative cooperation, adolescent bonding and even the presence of horses are fast becoming Lewis hallmarks that distinguish him from anyone else writing crime fiction today. And if Stolen Lives, Lewis’ hardest-hitting novel yet, is any indication, we can’t wait to see what’s next.