Five girls have gone missing. I am number six.
My name is Alice McCarthy. Twenty-two years ago, my sister disappeared. What should have been a fun night out at a school disco became a nightmare and Clara hasn't been seen since.
I haven't been back to Ireland since but when the police call and say they've unearthed a body, I have to go home.
It might be Clara. After all this time.
But what if someone is drawing me back to Ireland for their own reasons? What if they made a mistake all those years ago and didn't mean to take Clara?
What if they meant to take me instead?
And what if they're now going to correct that mistake?
'All the Lost Girls' by Bilinda P. Sheehan is a gripping psychological thriller. Five girls have gone missing, is Alice McCarthy number six? – Marissa Farrar
"Wow! Just wow! This really was a page turner."– Amazon Reviewer
"If you like crime novels & you've not read anything by Bilinda-P-Sheehan, I recommend you give her a try."– Amazon Reviewer
"An excellent story from the explosive beginning to the even more important end…"– Amazon Reviewer
I awoke with a start, the taste of muddy water coating my tongue as I fought upwards through a river of blankets and pillows. The shrilling of the alarm on my phone grew muffled as I buried it in a cocoon of duvet and sheets.
Pain crushed the inside of my skull, feeling like fingernails scratching against my scalp.
Panic held me in its grip, making me fight for every breath. I ran my hands over my tangled hair. It was a gesture of reassurance, one I'd been doing ever since that night. I huffed out a sigh and flopped back against the pillow.
The empty room was ominous in the gloom of the autumnal morning light that filtered flatly through the gaps in the curtains. Ominous or not, I was alone here. There was no one waiting for me, no one crouched in a darkened corner.
My breathing slowed, but the frantic beat of my heart still hammered in my ears.
How long had it been since I'd dreamed of her? Guilt gnawed at me. I hadn't forgotten her. Wouldn't forget her, no matter what. Yet there was no denying the fact that years had passed since I'd last dreamed of her like that.
The sound of the alarm on the phone changed, the shrill tone morphing into a Take-That song.
"Shit—" I dug through the covers, emerging victorious a moment later, phone clutched in my hands.
"Yeah—Hello?" I pressed the phone to my ear, but silence greeted me instead of a human voice.
Pulling the phone away from my face, I stared at the screen.
1 Missed Call.
The message blinked brightly on the screen. The colourful display glowed, hurting my eyes. The phone buzzed violently enough to make me jump.
"Take a chill pill, Alice," I chided myself as a small envelope flashed on the screen.
1 New Message
Opening the message, I scanned it quickly, a knot forming in the pit of my stomach as I read Gerald's name.
Need you in the office. Now.
I stared at the time on the phone. 05:33am. If he was calling me in at this hour, then something had happened. In my line of work, that wasn't good.
After everything that had happened with Clara that night, I'd studied to be a social worker, my desperation to make a difference, to help those who couldn't help themselves, the driving force that got me through school.
The reality of my job wasn't at all what I'd hoped it would be.
You did your best, and usually, that wasn't good enough. The system was broken; a sinking ship of epic proportions. Lack of funds, training, and staff left us grasping at straws, fighting desperately to keep the ones we could reach afloat. It was never enough. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how hard you fought, someone always slipped through the cracks. And when they did…
I stuffed my fist into my mouth and screamed around it before dropping my phone back onto the covers.
All I wanted was to climb back beneath the duvet. It was a pathetic and cowardly reaction to the text, but I still felt it. The childish part of me, hidden beneath the scars of my past, promised that if I stayed in bed everything would be fine. Whatever terrible reason Gerald had for calling me would just go away if I closed my eyes and hid.
Sucking in a breath, I let the roiling in my stomach settle before I swung my legs from the bed.