Lost Girl – It’s 2053 and runaway climate change has brought civilisation to the brink of collapse. Billions are threatened with starvation and mankind is slowly moving north in a world stricken by war, drought and super storm – easy prey for the pandemics that sweep across the globe. Easy prey, too, for the violent gangs and people-smugglers who thrive in the crumbling world where ‘King Death’ reigns supreme.

The father’s own world went to hell two years ago. His four-year-old daughter was snatched from his garden when he should have been watching. The moments before her disappearance play in a perpetual loop in his mind, as do the nightmarish fantasies of who took her, and why. But the police are preoccupied. Amidst the worst European heat wave on record, a refugee crisis, and the coming hurricane season, who cares about one more missing child? Now it’s down to him to find her, even if it means going to the worst places imaginable, to do the unthinkable . . .

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An Entrée to Lost Girl

Three factors compelled me to write this story. A long-term interest in the consequences of runaway climate change on civilisation was foremost: imagining our interconnected world in the near future, in a pre-collapse condition. I didn’t want to contribute to apocalyptic science fiction or horror; that field is saturated and often too fantastical to my taste, leading us to assume that the effects of climate change are still far off in the future. But I cannot imagine a future of gadgets, inter-galactic travel, or advanced physics, because I foresee too much disruption ahead. Instead, I wanted to depict epochal changes to environments, society, and our civilised values, and in a way that was immediately recognisable to us now, amending the status of climate change from the existential to the very real.

Secondly, I became a parent just over four years ago and my anxieties for my child’s safety and well being have been, at times, paralysing. I am a nervous father with an imagination that depicts the worse-case scenario in most situations. So it was only a matter of time before I wrote a story of parental horror.

And finally, what we may be facing as a species might also have some equivalency with the Medieval experience, ideas, scale, and attitudes to death. This was my chance to return death itself, as an enigmatic but ever-present force, to the modern world and to a species that has catastrophically overpopulated and overheated its home.

But I’m not a writer of non-fiction, or an author of polemic; I’m a storyteller. So all of these ideas could only augment and inform the story of one man in crisis, among so many in crisis, in a world in crisis, and the right vehicle for all of these ideas and creative compulsions was the thriller.