I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Janet Moodie has spent years as a death row appeals attorney. Overworked and recently widowed, she’s had her fill of hopeless cases, and is determined that this will be her last. Her client is Marion ‘Andy’ Hardy, convicted along with his brother Emory of the rape and murder of two women. But Emory received a life sentence while Andy got the death penalty, labeled the ringleader despite his low IQ and Emory’s dominant personality.
Convinced that Andy’s previous lawyers missed mitigating evidence that would have kept him off death row, Janet investigates Andy’s past. She discovers a sordid and damaged upbringing, a series of errors on the part of his previous counsel, and most worrying of all, the possibility that there is far more to the murders than was first thought. Andy may be guilty, but does he deserve to die?
Two Lost Boys is the debut novel of L. F. Robertson: a gripping, legal thriller that follows Janet Moodie as she attempts to see justice in the sentencing of Andy Hardy. With the help of colleagues, professionals, and those that knew Andy, Janet hopes to overturn the death penalty signed off on Andy’s life believing that there is more to Andy and his part in the murders than meets the eye.
Two Lost Boys is unique, and different, in that I have never really read a legal thriller where the lawyers are intent on overturning a ruling previously made. The death penalty is a big deal and, you would think, that there wouldn’t be much reasoning for trying to change the outcome. However, as you begin to progress through the novel and learn about Andy – the upbringing that he has had, the damaged past, the low IQ alongside some form of possible mental disability – you begin to feel sympathy towards Andy and understand his plight. Andy comes across as someone quite quiet, someone who is meticulous and orderly, and considerate of those around him. Not once did I, personally, believe that Andy was a man capable of having killed those women but, and this is the point that Moodie and her team are attempting to highlight, I could see him being coerced into it.
Robertson does a brilliant job at transferring emotions onto certain characters, causing the reader to really understand who is and isn’t at fault. As the evidence builds up, it becomes hard not to see the signs and, with the help of Moodie and her team, you begin to see how this information can be used to help Andy and his case. The legal jargon used within the novel is simplified and easily understandable thanks to Robertson’s writing. The characters frequently come across side-characters who, like me, may not understand the American justice system and how Moodie and her team gathering this information could help Andy. Through these explanations it becomes easy to see how complicated the system is and how, from Andy’s previous case, evidence can be twisted to suit the needs of the court and the case they are proceeding with.
It was clear to see that this was Robertson’s first novel, with a couple of simple errors in the writing style where words or phrases were repeated. However, that in know way affected the way that I read, or rated, the novel as the narrative, the terminology, and the characters were all brilliantly written. There was a lot of depth to the characters, especially Andy, as I could clearly see the angle that they were going for in his retrial and, from the get-go, it was obvious that he was slower and had some sort of mental disability that affected him. I connected really well with all of the characters, and even felt distanced and aloof with the characters that Moodie similarly felt towards. I loved the direction that Two Lost Boys took and the different threads of the investigation, narrative, and the Hardy family’s lives. There is a lot going on in this novel, and a lot of backstory that is rehashed in order to understand Andy and his cause and Robertson brings this into the novel in a way that doesn’t bog you down or feel like you’re floundering around in too much information.
Two Lost Boys is a brilliantly, unique legal thriller and is one I would recommend for anyone looking for something with emotion and a lot of different paths leading to the present day.