Home Books Review: ‘The Lost Kings,’ by Tyrell Johnson

Review: ‘The Lost Kings,’ by Tyrell Johnson

by Jersey Lady

lost kingsTyrell Johnson


Trauma conspiracy becomes almost inevitable, According to critic Parul Segar,As he writes for The New Yorker, Sehgal draws from television shows like “Ted Lasso” to literary tales of characters receiving PTSD diagnoses and being “sent to the past to play traumatic truffles.” It rightfully condemns the tyranny of storylines found everywhere, even in autofiction. “

But amidst the gun violence of recent months, suspense novels with trauma plots seem less like escapist mysteries and more like how-to manuals for survival. In Tyrell Johnson’s excellent second novel, The Lost Kings, a woman deals with both a bloody crime and the long aftermath it has for her body and psyche. Investigate.

The main character, Jeannie King, lives in Oxford, but spent her childhood in a remote cabin on the coast of Washington. One night her father came back to the cabin with bloody hands, “as if he had worn her gloves.” He then disappeared, leaving a note saying, “You can be without me.” Her twin brother, Jamie, disappeared the same night, leaving Jeanie distressed and alone.

“The Lost Kings” follows Genie’s exploration of the night that divided the family, but Johnson’s deeper interest seems to be in childhood: its mystery, its freedom, its end. He imparts depth and feeling, a quirky and charming idiosyncrasy to young girl voices. As children, Jeannie, her twins, and her friend Maddox spent their days digging geodaxes in the sand, and in one instance, soaking tennis balls in gasoline and setting them on fire, or slamming them into the ocean. I’m here. Johnson also captures the sense of threat that ripples through youth, the looming specter of a shadowy adult world full of unanswered questions. Why did the British mother decide to marry him? And why did he tell Genie to hide one night while he guarded the front door with a rifle? ?

Later, as an Oxford student, Jeannie remembers Flannery O’Connor’s words: However, Jeanie misses important information about her own childhood, and without those facts she is upset. When she turned up in Oxford with the news that Maddox had found her father, Jeannie thought: I deserve an answer. “

As the chapters move back and forth in time, the tone switches from the lyrical and atmospheric of the past to the spiky and sour of the present. is dropped. She works at a store that sells fancy ready-made dinners, sleeps with married men, and sees a therapist once a week. My apologies to the real-life therapist, but the fictional therapist works very well in Thriller, and the position of trust is fraught with the potential for betrayal. ” said her therapist, and the scene between the two is evocative and unsettling.

Both her therapist and her father are complex and slippery characters, and the plot takes a brilliant twist through Jeannie’s relationship with them, and her married lover and her missing twin brother. “Can you feel him? Waiting in the wings. You don’t know he’s about to enter,” Genie says. “Look at his bright smile. His brown and silver hair.” The mystery she accurately portrays is one of the novel’s truly amazing revelations.

For the book’s epigraph, Johnson chose a passage from Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy.” / If you killed one, you killed two–” The Genie King’s way of survival is anger.


Flynn Berry is the author of ‘Northern Spy’, ‘Double Life’ and ‘Under the Halo’.


Tyrell Johnson, Lost King | | WahooArt.com Page 319 | Anchor | $27

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