Have you seen this girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch Book Review

Remember that daft End Of Days (1999) movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Gabriel Byrne as the devil? What was it called? 

One of the opening scenes is Arnie waking up in his messy apartment, and putting together a breakfast that includes a cup of coffee, some Chinese leftovers and slice of greasy pizza that he's just found on the floor. He sticks it all into a blender and turns the thing into a smoothie.

I'd wonder if that was in the script. At what point in the production did somebody say "Okay, we're two scenes into this 90 minute movie. We need something at this point that's so farken lewdurkriss that it will make people want to walk out of the theater. Any pizza anywhere?"

The first book in the Flocksdale Files series, Have you seen this girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch features a similar opening scene - the home of what appears to be a heroin-snorting couple. It's done better than Hollywood could manage in its fin-de-siecle excesses. The scene reads like a panning shot in a movie, as it describes the heroine's (fnar!) routine. A wonderfully described hovel, and there ain't a daft breakfast NutriBlast in sight. Wendi DOES use a straw to start her day. (Actually, it's a straw-shaped dollar bill. Her place is so messy that she can't find the straw.)

Think of a pal you consider braver or more foolhardy than yourself. Imagine being held by terrorists alongside this friend, and you watch this friend getting his head blown off because he shows a little backbone. What would you do then?

This is the kind of stomach-churning scenario you'll also find here.

The story could be read more broadly as a metaphor for drug addiction (alongside the drug addiction itself). Are we responsible for the daft mistakes we make in our early teens?

With drugs, you can reach a point at which you decide "No!" But you could be hooked already, acquired insight at odds with your needs. Addiction ensnares: So too is Wendi. And the irony of her appalling situation is acute.

Lynch is deft at presenting the most horrific material with such subtlety and taste that she inspires reader fear and empathy without being graphic or lewd. I can hear parents everywhere asking their writer offspring: "Why can't you write more like that lovely author, with the books about prostitution and the drug addicts?"

It's all great stuff.

Get the first book on Amazon! Get the whole series there too!

Follow Carissa Ann Lynch on Twitter!