LOST GIRLS opens on the wind-lashed face of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, where Sherry, at the behest of her confidant and best friend, retired Admiral Garland Brigham, is lending her talents to a search and rescue team. Taking hold of a dead climber’s hand, Sherry sees the thoughts that flashed through his mind in the last eighteen seconds of his life. Her vision directs the team to the remaining survivors, but it also yields a nightmarish memory. In a castle in a jungle, young women, each of their faces branded with a skull tattoo, are being tortured and raped.
The dead climber turns out to be one Sergio Mendoza, son of Colombian drug kingpin Thiago Mendoza. Wracked by guilt, Sergio fled to Alaska to escape his father’s legacy; an ill-timed ice storm rendered that escape permanent. If his dying memories are any indicator, the Mendoza cartel has diversified, now dealing in the burgeoning trade of human sex trafficking. The buying and selling of these “lost girls” is a global phenomenon; young, beautiful women, primarily from Eastern Europe, lured by promises of modeling careers or of a better life, or just kidnapped outright, are put to work serving “sex tourists” in the Caribbean and Latin America. The U.S. State Department estimates that 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across national borders annually.
Haunted and outraged by what she saw in Alaska, Sherry forwards the case to Interpol, but unsurprisingly hears nothing for several months; her abilities are viewed with outright skepticism by mainstream law enforcement—a psychic vision is hardly admissible in court. However, when an American teenager is found floating off the coast of Jamaica—with the tell-tale skull tattoo branded on her face—the victim’s mother, Carol Bishop, immediately enlists Sherry’s help.
The daughter’s horrific final memories send Sherry and Carol on a harrowing journey through the seedy underbelly of the Caribbean, from the back alleys of Santo Domingo to the deepest jungles of Haiti—where Sherry confronts a voodoo priest whose abilities mirror her own. Meanwhile, held captive in the same jungle castle that haunted Sergio, a courageous Polish woman, Aleksandra Goralski, fights to survive. As Sherry and Carol zero in on the location of this historic relic turned holding pen, where women are “broken in” with a regimen of rape, torture, and forced drug addiction before they are shipped out to buyers, time is running out for Aleksandra and other woman who share her fate. Darkly thrilling and lightning-paced, LOST GIRLS hurtles to a riveting and bloody finale.
"Shuman's provocative thriller… puts a troubling, unsavory issue front and center… Sherry's unique talent opens doors forher; but it's her determination and grit when things get rough that makes her such an appealing hero."
"A great read! A chilling look into the horrible world of human trafficking. Shuman keeps you turning pages while asking some painful questions."
-Emmy Award Winning Producer Stephen J. Cannell
"Lost Girls is a horrifying look at human trafficking wrapped around a compelling thriller. Shuman is one of my favorite reads."
-Gregg Hurwitz, bestselling author of The Crime Writer
"A compelling humandrama, told no holds barred by a dynamic storyteller."