declan declan


City of Lost Girls

There's a killer on the loose.

He kills the lost girls.

And he always kills in threes...

Larger than life Irish-born Hollywood director Jack Donovan and Ed Loy go way back. In Hollywood in the nineties, Loy used to kiss Jack Donovan's girls goodbye and pay them to go away. Until one day, he saw something he couldn't forgive, something that made Loy steer clear of Donovan for years.

Now Jack is back, shooting a movie on the streets of Dublin, and uneasy about the sinister anonymous letters he's been receiving. Meanwhile, two special extras go missing—they've barely been gone a day, but they've already been shot on, and it would break the budget to replace them now, so the film company are frantic. The producer, Maurice Faye, hires Loy to investigate—and Loy is instantly transported back to a time in LA when three extras went missing on the set of a movie Jack Donovan shot at Point Dume, Malibu.

In LA there's a killer on the loose. He kills young and rootless girls and he always kills in threes. He works in the film business... and now he's back in Dublin.

City of Lost Girls US

As well as Jack and Maurice, there are two other men—Conor Rowan, First Assistant Director, and Mark Cassidy, Lighting Cameraman—who were in Point Dume, and are still here. Four in the frame... and when the previous victims of the 'Three-in-One Killer' are discovered at locations Jack used for his movies, Loy's suspicion hardens.

Loy flies to LA to liaise with LAPD. He must hope that whatever he finds in his and Jack's shared past will point away from his old friend.

Back in Dublin, the killer breaks his pattern and strikes at Loy where he is most vulnerable. Time is not on Loy's side as he flies through the night from one city to another to outwit a ruthless, motiveless psychopath and save the last of the lost girls.

First chapter

Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


"Hughes's characters have depth, his scenes have drama, and his sentences have grace.... [A] gifted Irish writer.... The characters who count...are substantial figures with considerable heart."
   —New York Times Book Review

"A remarkable series of noir crime novels that impressively graft the hard-boiled detective style onto contemporary Dublin.... A violent climax worthy of Hughes' hard-boiled American antecedents."
   —Los Angeles Times

"Breathtaking.... How does Hughes keep it fresh? By the sheer exuberance of his prose....And mostly by the high respect he has for mystery. Hughes pays subtle, effective tribute to the old-time mystery tradition of lining up suspects one by one, but it's mystery of a deeper kind that underlies the story.... Did Ross Macdonald's novels have an undertone of romanticism? Hughes's have an entire orchestra, and he has the writing chops to pull it off."
   —Philadelphia Inquirer

"No one writes crime fiction quite like Declan Hughes, and his...City of Lost Girls is typical of the tour de force he's capable of pulling off.... The storytelling is lean but always with poetic force and attention paid to word choice and to the rhythm of the prose. It's a good story.... The story of Loy, his strong and appealing new woman, Anne Fogarty, the irresistible pull of the past, and Ed's search for the missing young women are compelling."
   —Boston Globe

"Hughes' prose is lush, rich with detail, peppered with historical and literary references.... Hughes is not only a novelist but also a veteran playwright and screenwriter--and reading his novels is not unlike watching an epic movie unfold on the big screen.... The suspense is irresistible. The writing is superb, at times bordering on poetry. And the characters are superbly drawn--so real that you could almost shoot them yourself."
   —Associated Press

"It doesn't get much better than finding a writer you really enjoy and then discovering he already has four books under his belt.... Everyone who pops up in these pages is delightfully quirky, in a dark sort of way, and has me reserving copies of the previous book."
   —Charlotte Observer

"City of Lost Girls may well become the mystery we remember from 2010.... Most fascinating.... Hughes's elegant writing makes this novel take wing. He belongs in the grand Irish tradition of conjuring magic with words. City of Lost Girls is exhilarating. Grade: A."
   —Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Finding new writers is always a treat, and Declan Hughes's City of Lost Girls is great noir set in Dublin."
   —Providence Journal-Bulletin

"Hughes' brilliant creation of the charismatic Donovan propels the story.... Donovan is 'a carouser extraordinaire,' 'a mad wayward bastard'...and mesmerizes nearly every character in the book. Not even the smart, formidable Loy is immune, and neither is the reader."

"Hughes's fifth book is a welcome addition to a series which has given the tired private-eye sub-genre a much-needed shot in the arm.... The plot is taut and pacey, the prose is gorgeous, and there are plenty of twists and turns: a page-turner and a treat."
   —The Guardian (London)

"Hughes's Dublin PI Ed Loy is both a hat-tip to Sam Spade ("loy" is an Irish word for a spade) and a highly original character.... Handsome writing and superb characterization make [this] as easy to swallow as the first Guinness of the afternoon."
   —Daily Telegraph (London)

" ... a powerful tale from a gifted storyteller. If there is to be a better Irish novel this year, it will be a very fine piece of work indeed."
   —Sunday Independent (Ireland)

"... a mightily satisfying read ... written with passion and skill, and propelled by a cunningly plotted mystery that double-crosses the reader before building to a surprisingly moving conclusion ... The writing itself is polished and propulsive. ... City of Lost Girls is, as well as being an excellent thriller, also a pitch-perfect evocation of 'Dublin, the former goldrush town'."
   —Irish Times

"City of Lost Girls is the most assured and persuasive of the Ed Loy books ... a compelling thriller that also manages to be a wry social critique—not so much The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope as The Way We Die Now by Charles Willeford. Hughes, though, remains his own man."
   —Irish Independent


The Wrong Kind of Blood (2006)
The Colour of Blood (2007)
The Dying Breed (US: The Price of Blood) (2008)
All the Dead Voices (2009)
City of Lost Girls (2010)
All the Things You Are (2014)