Monday, December 11, 2023

Review Tour & Giveaway: The Lost Child by Thomas Grant Bruso

The Lost Child
Thomas Grant Bruso

Contemporary Crime / Thriller
Publisher: NineStar Press
Publication Date: September 26, 2023
Page count: 323 pages



Newspaper reporter Luke Sorenson has recently moved to a new town in upstate New York. Despite the change in scenery, Luke cannot run away from a brutal, harrowing past driven by the death of his only child, Emily.
Soon, Luke is propelled into a dangerous case of child abduction, an eerie reminder of losing his daughter. An eight-year-old boy named Daniel Hadley is kidnapped from his own bedroom and it is Luke, battling his own demons, who is assigned the story of the year.

As pieces of Luke’s mysterious, violent past are revealed, so are the sinister secrets to his daughter’s demise, sending Luke into a tailspin of heavy drinking and self-torment.
The search for Daniel is on, but it may be too late for everyone involved.



He watches her. She is alone.
She is six, maybe seven years old. She is having a picnic in the front yard with her dolls.
The girl’s hair is the color of spun honey. Her eyes, dark brown, innocent, come alive when he hears her talking to one of her plastic dolls.
Her voice is lively, soft, and gentle.
She laughs as the man shifts his footing in the shadowy woods across from her house. A small branch snaps underfoot, the sound of his weight on the thick twig imploding like fireworks.
She looks up from grooming her doll’s hair and stares in his direction. The man creeps behind a leafy spruce tree to hide.
Two vehicles pass along the quiet suburban street. The man stares around the massive tree, watching the young girl.
The sound of her humming to her dolls makes him smile. A splinter of electricity vibrates through his rangy limbs. Something mechanical surges through his veins and up and down his body to his scraggly face.
Trembling, he reaches a gnarled hand out against the thick bark of the tree to balance himself. His head is dizzy. His legs are unsteady.
He knows this feeling. It is familiar, like the blade of a knife skimming the surface of young flesh. Then he hears the sound of scared children panting and crying in the back of his head. He sees their frightened eyes, pleading for their parents, and he smiles.
He slips back into the brush behind the birch tree.
Watching. Waiting.
A dog walker passes two feet away. He skulks back into the coiling shadows so they won’t see him.
He wipes sweat from his neck with the back of his hand.
The man’s identity is almost discovered when the sizeable black lab points its nose toward the dense foliage. The owner tugs on the dog’s leash lightly and starts down the street, around the corner; now, they are out of sight.
The man waits for a second or two until he’s sure they’re gone. He hugs the tree limb and cocks an ear to the sound of the young girl’s mother yelling at her from the brightly lit porch.
“It’s getting dark, Susie. Come inside.”
Sweet little Susie, the cigar-smoking man muses.
Curly-haired Susie. Doll-grooming Susie.
When the time is right, he will be back.

5 stars!

This cleverly plotted, suspense-filled tale kept me riveted to the pages.
The Lost Child is a gem of thrilling crime fiction from veteran author Thomas Grant Bruso, and from page one, the growing suspense had me riveted to its pages. The opening is sinister and creepy, and I was filled with apprehension, knowing that something awful was about to happen.
The story unfolds through two points of view, that of eight-year-old Daniel Thompson Hadley and the adult protagonist of the work, Luke Sorenson. From the start, there is a feeling that Luke may not be the most reliable of narrators. He’s struggling mentally and, consequently, in every aspect of his life. Although, he’s in therapy to help him deal with the aftermath of his young daughter’s death the previous year, he’s teetering on the brink of losing it. He sees his daughter in his dreams and, now, in daytime hallucinations. This character is complex and fascinating. I came for the ‘lost child’ but I was absorbed by Luke.
Young Daniel Hadley is chafing at the restrictions imposed by his cautious, wary, but loving parents as he watches his neighborhood friends play outside later and unsupervised. There’s just something about being eight or so that children start to feel they are grown, and the author captures this feeling and Daniel’s thinking exactly, while maintaining the vulnerability when his circumstances change later.
Bruso has created a mesmerizing story. His writing was easy to fall into and forget about what was going on around me. The premise of a missing child establishes a frantic mindset for me as a parent and the pace of author’s build up to this was superb but agonizing just same. With every page turn, I was waiting for that shoe to drop while becoming more and more invested in the trainwreck that was Luke. The story has some twists that definitely surprised.
Set out a good block of uninterruptible time for this one! I recommend THE LOST CHILD to mystery, crime fiction, and thriller lovers.


Thomas Grant Bruso knew he wanted to be a writer at an early age. He has been a voracious reader of genre fiction since childhood.
His literary inspirations are Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Jim Grimsley, Karin Fossum, and Joyce Carol Oates. 

Bruso loves animals, reading books, and writing fiction, and prefers Sudoku to crossword puzzles.

In another life, he was a freelance writer and wrote for magazines and newspapers. In college, he won the Hermon H. Doh Sonnet Competition. Now, he writes and publishes fiction and reviews books for his hometown newspaper, The Press-Republican. 

He lives in upstate New York.


Thomas Grant Bruso will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Thomas Grant Bruso said...

Thanks for your excellent review. Thanks for hosting The Lost Child.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for taking the time to read and review this book. We appreciate it!

Marcy Meyer said...

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like something I would enjoy.

Sherry said...

This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.