Their Lost Daughters

Audible's breakthrough crime author of 2018
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,763 ratings)

Regular price: £18.99

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About the Audiobook

Deep in the muddy fields of the Lincolnshire Fens, a teenage girl is found wandering, delirious, claiming to have been drugged at a party. Metres away, the drowned body of another girl is found on an isolated beach. And all this on a small stretch of land where, nearly 10 years ago, the shocking disappearance of a young girl remains an open case. For DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans, the pressure is on to bring the perpetrators of these shocking crimes to justice. Are the crimes linked? Who are these young girls? And what on earth is going on under the green and pastured land of the Lincolnshire Fens?

Listen to clips from the audiobook

<i>Their Lost Daughters</i>
Jackman learns of the body on the beach
<i>Their Lost Daughters</i>
Marie is haunted by an unsolved case
<i>Their Lost Daughters</i>
The deadly history of the marsh, as told by Gary
<i>Their Lost Daughters</i>
Jackman introduces the team’s newest recruit

  • Their Lost Daughters
  • Jackman learns of the body on the beach
  • Their Lost Daughters
  • Marie is haunted by an unsolved case
  • Their Lost Daughters
  • The deadly history of the marsh, as told by Gary
  • Their Lost Daughters
  • Jackman introduces the team’s newest recruit

Watch our exclusive trailer

Their Lost Daughters has been hailed as “the next big thing in crime fiction” by Digital Spy. Step into this dark and menacing world with Richard Armitage.
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Editor reviews

"Put your headphones on, turn your Wi-Fi off, clear your diary and take a ride with DI Jackman and DS Evans. As you listen to Their Lost Daughters they will start to feel like old friends, and you will live through their triumphs and traumas on the trail of one of the most wantonly twisted crimes ever to grace an audiobook. The book is harrowing at times but never overdone. It's as heartfelt as it is disturbing. In the run up to the final, brilliantly executed twist, it is almost clinically impossible to press the pause button." - Gabriel, Audible Editor 

"Checking my home for intruders isn't one of my standard nighttime rituals, but after listening to Their Lost Daughters, I found myself doing just that. In this chilling narrative, Joy Ellis expertly plays on your deepest fears and delivers a satisfying, shocking twist that no crime aficionado could predict. It bears all the hallmarks of great TV shows like Broadchurch, and with powerful narration from Richard Armitage you genuinely feel part of the action as the hunt to find the killer intensifies. I urge you to experience it in all its glory." - Jess, Audible Editor 

Introducing Richard Armitage, our star narrator


Richard is well-known for his array of film, television and theatre work, including The Hobbit, Spooks and The Crucible. His trademark baritone voice has earned him recognition, too, through his performance on many notable audiobooks as well as in TV and radio show narration. This experience shines through in Armitage's gripping performance of Their Lost Daughters where he plays host to a plethora of characters.

And Joy Ellis, the book's author

Joy Ellis started her career as a flower seller in Mayfair in the 1960s, before going on to open her own florist in Surrey. When the recession hit, Joy had a career change and became a bookseller, and attended a writing course in Greece where she was mentored by Sue Townsend. She now lives in The Fens with her partner Jacqueline, where the flatlands and marshes provide inspiration for her eerie plotlines.

Critic reviews

"If you’re a crime fiction fanatic, Their Lost Daughters could well be your next obsession." (Digital Spy)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Smokin' Start to a New Series!

I often hate it when books get quite such a push as this one has because once you've listened to the interviews, seen the short trailers and read the background expectations are so high the result is often disappointment. As a result I don't doubt that this one will get some negative reviews as a result. Personally though I think it deserves most if not all of the hype. I took to Jackson and Evans from the off! They make a great pair and they are thrown into a twisty and evil-mannered plot that's enough to make your hair not only stand on end but get up, pack its bags and leave! Well, that's my excuse anyhow.

The devious mind that came up with all of this could surely not belong to the mild-mannered, highly approachable Joy Ellis in the Audible interviews! Well, somehow it is; they say you need to watch the quiet ones. Of course an audiobook only reaches the top levels when the partnership between author and narrator has genuine chemistry. Again, there's no doubt about that here. Armitage is of course a bit of a celeb but he's full of character and charm and their is clearly a glowing mutual respect between him and Ellis. His performance is assured and full of character-driven depth.

The odd thing is that Audible seem to be billing volume 2 of the printed series as volume 1 of the audio version and vice-versa. Presumably they felt this one had the biggest wow factor and in truth the next one in the series which I have already pre-ordered will have to go some distance to beat this one. The obvious concern is that the missing back story from the original volume will detract from the enjoyment of this one but although it is hinted at I don't think you'd notice unless you already knew.

I'll not say it was a 100% perfect. Some of the police procedure felt a little weak to me, an undercover operation in the first half of the book felt poorly thought out and I am sure would have caused much more considerable consternation than the story indicated. Occasionally parts of the dialogue did seem a little stilted to me. These are very minor things though and I have no qualms at all in recommending this one to those strong-stomached individuals who like an edgy and creepy police thriller.

77 of 88 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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thoroughly disappointing

I purchased this, following what seemed to be a pretty big launch including TV adverts and a fair amount of emails and within the first hour I was already regretting it. It is like a paint by numbers approach to a detective story. The plot line is thin, but worse is the dialogue. I found myself cringing at how the characters were supposed to be conversing. I would not be recommending this book to anyone.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Very disappointing

I fell for the Audible hype and bought this. It’s really very pedestrian and second rate. The most ludicrous plot that gets increasingly bizarre as the book trundles laboriously on. Boring, one-dimensional characters, very average writing and, the final nail in the coffin, not particularly well read either. People in this fenland area all sound as if they come from up north! Welsh accents wandered in and out characters seemed to deliver their lines at the same pitch and tempo regardless of whether they were meant to be whispering or shouting et cetera. Compared to writers like Ian Rankin or Anne Cleaves this is really a very poor effort.

44 of 52 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great easy listen

Great narration and story, good thriller for the holidays, easy listening and intriguing. Will seek out more from Joy Ellis.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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wow, was this overhyped

I feel a bit stupid for falling for the hype but hey life is for discovering new stuff and sometimes you get gold. not in this case though.
theres nothing in this book to justify the big hype it got.
its a reasonably mundane detective drama, pretty slow paced, the detective and sidekick pretty unmemorable.
Nothing like a Rebus or a Wallander.
Sorry Author but I just cant understand why audblie hyped this particular book - unless it was to test if they could push sales of their middle of the road material.

34 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JPH
  • Hertfordshire
  • 26-11-18

Engaging thriller.

An excellent, original story that grabbed my attention from the first chapter and kept it. There was no mind-wandering the story was filled with lots of gritty twists and surprises, great characters, and wonderful narration by Richard Armitage. I've now purchased 'The Murderer's son' which is in fact the 1st in the series. Thoroughly Reccomended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Kept me listening

This is certainly a highly imaginative and macabre story. It's amazing how many books like this are created by women. It's a pacy story with well-developed main characters. The author doesn't avoid some of the cliches of the genre such as the chief superintendent being obsessed by budget constraints and bad tempered towards her underlings: and it now seems inevitable that the chief is a woman. The psychologist (not a profiler) who becomes involved at first rightly says that profiling is an inexact art and then goes on to make highly detailed predictions that no ordinary psychologist would contemplate making. Apart from these minor quibbles it's a pacy story that kept me listening and was satisfactorily concluded with all the threads brought together.
The narrator is excellent.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • kk
  • 05-08-18

Dull as fenland ditch water

I can't understand the reason for the hype. It's awful! The narration is bad too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Amateur feeling. Flat and unrealistic

Jumbled yet predictable story with two dimensional characters. Conversation dialogues are so stiff 70s porn dubbing flows better and has more realism. The whole force must have gone to Sunday school as none of them utter any profanities. (accompanying dodgy music may have added something). Gary is supposed to be a clever copper comes across like Benny from crossroads . Cooks a good breakfast though .The chief inspector must have watched too many superman movies to think that slicked back hair glasses and a change of clothing are all you need to do as not be recognised.

22 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Such a badly written book

I honestly don't understand why this book has received so much hype on audible. It is so badly written and the characters are two dimensional, I couldn't care less about them.  There are so many cases that are thrown at the same team and even more appearing through the book that are all apparently going to be solved at the same time as part of the same crime.

Basic police procedure is not followed and the opportunity to look at evidence that could help identify a body is to hand and not even thought about.

Every cliche under the sun is used, it's almost as if it's a write by numbers book.  When an 'expert' is required they don't use the ones that the police would have on their database but people who they happen to know.  They bring in a phsychologist right after explaining how they don't like them. He then says he doesn't believe in profiling and then goes on to profile the killer.  They also don't make full use of the experts that they have brought in.  The forensic anthropologist actually tells them she's got more information that they need to know but they don't bother to listen. Then when they keep banging on about finding out more about that victim they don't think 'Oh hey maybe the expert can tell us more about her', no they just keep saying, we need to find out more about her and doing nothing.

The officers seem to see qualities in the people they are interviewing that are in no way described by the author and that clears them of being a suspect.  They seem to spend half their time driving back and forth to the station instead of staying out and doing police work.  And the days must only be about 3hrs long as they always seem to be tired and working late and being sent home every five minutes.

The only redeeming feature of this book is Richard Armitage, I could listen to his voice all day long. But even he seems fed up with what he's reading.

This is a total mess of a book and I will certainly not be getting any more from this author.

45 of 58 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 16-06-18

Author Joy Ellis never disappoints!!

THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS is the 10th novel by Joy Ellis I have listened to and reviewed at Audible. Joy Ellis is lauded as "Audible's breakthrough crime author of 2018". I hope Audible is correct and this wonderful author now gets the attention the quality of her work deserves. For those familiar with her DI Nikki Galena eight novel series this novel is set in the Fens, an area on the east coast of England about 50 miles northeast of London that was reclaimed from the sea and marshes several centuries ago, like Ellis' other modern detective novels. The plot is an excellent one with two new protagonists (Jackman and Evans) introduced. Narration by Richard Armitage is excellent but not quite as good in my opinion as that of Henrietta Meire who narrated the Nikki Galena series. The next two audio books in the Jackman and Evans series will be released by Audible October.

Highly recommended!

31 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Wild Horses Flying
  • 29-09-18

Disappointed

I have really liked Ellis's Fens series with Nikki Galena and crew - good plots, characters with depth. This one, "Their Lost Daughters" doesn't have much plot but is more just a fleshed out animation of the awfulness of kidnap, abuse and killing but WORST is that Ellis has gone off the deep end with overblown emotionalism - like a soap opera. If you like soap opera you'll probably like this. If she'd had an editor other than Audible - the editor would probably have pointed this out to Ellis or just not published it. None of the Fens books bulged out this way - they contained and expressed strong emotion but kept it contained within the body of the whole - so it was very effective and an important contributing element. Neither Jackman nor Evans are interesting.
Audible has made much ado about Armitage's sexy deep resonant voice - which it IS and I'm sure he IS a good actor but in this reading he uses his voice to only further the over-done emotionalism. He also puts pauses in his pacing which, on stage, are exactly right but which in reading a book are distracting and irritating.
I don't know what Ellis was thinking . . . but, for her sake, I don't think this book should have been published.

43 of 52 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Molly
  • 18-07-18

Awful story, good characters, great performance

The narrator is great with wonderful, accurate accents. The author has good, well rounded main characters, but the plot and story is utterly implausible and ridiculous.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nora
  • 27-07-18

Gripping from the start

Joy Ellis has written a gripping tale. A parent's worse nightmare, a cautionary tale for teens testing freedom and a policeman's haunting case...all these are woven into a tale of mystery, generational pain and institutionalize corruption. When you first meet Jackman and Evans, you can't help but be touched by their passion for justice and their dogged determination to find the killer or killers before another daughter becomes a victim. You know these coppers and their team will never allow these girls to become statistics. The names of the missing and abused become central to the story as it twists and turns through the plot. You feel the frustration and anger of the police and of the parents. You smell the salty air and hear the moans carried on the wind across the Fens. Something terribly wrong permeates the landscape and Jackman and Evans won't rest until they have the answers.

Richard Armitage captures your imagination with his excellent performance. His talent for voices is just wonderful. Each voice becomes so familiar, you always know who is speaking. The characters move, breathe, love, rage within the context of the story and you are right in the middle of it all. As this is a thoroughly British tale with thoroughly British expressions, what better narrator could have been chosen to sweep you away than Richard?

I have already pre-purchased the next two books due out in October. There is obviously more to this story...

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Janna Wong Healy
  • 09-07-18

Dreary and Predictable

In a word: meh. I wanted to like this mystery but the best part of it was Richard Armitage's narration. I found the story to be sometimes diverting but mostly, it was dreary and predictable. I was not surprised by any of the twists or turns and the writing was pedestrian and lacking in insight.

Most importantly, I never got a chance to know the two detectives -- they went through their paces and did a good job of uncovering the crimes but without any hint at their personalities or knowledge of their private lives, there was no sense of satisfaction when they solved the crimes successfully.

Richard Armitage is, as usual, phenomenal. He is such a wonderful narrator. I would listen to him read the phone book. Really.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 🌿🌸Susynne🌸🌿
  • 16-06-18

Well written, excellent performance

Well written and performed. This deep twisted tale wound its way through a maze of clues and histories to expertly weave an intriguing spell upon the listener.

Taking place in the U.K. it did throw this American girl for a loop here and there... but nothing that took away from the expertly crafted experience.

Heat Factor totally non existent, although the subject matter was frankly a tad shocking and only sort of graphic.

Creditworthy? Heavens yes!

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Missy
  • 06-08-18

OK but not all that

I started listening to this book because of the hype that was around it, however it isn't all as its hyped up to be.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore
  • 31-12-18

I was completely wrapped up in this story...


This is an "angsty" British murder mystery, taking place in a bleak, desolate, wind whipped stretch of coastal property... The mood of the tale takes its cue from the dismal landscape (how typically British of it! Lol). D.I. Jackson, and D.S. Evans, along with their crack investigative team, face a very tough case, and they have to dig deep to find their own inner strength in order to move forward. They also discover that it's not at all as straight forward as it seems (is it ever?), and  seemingly unrelated cases may actually play a part in their investigation!
Richard Armitage has proved himself a brilliant narrator with this tale, and I found myself completely wrapped up in this twisty mystery. I'm confident that you will too!

A very solid 4.5 ★ overall!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa L. Grady
  • 29-11-18

Lots of characters to keep up with.

Although I enjoyed this narration, I found myself having to listen and replay over and over. It could be the names are not familiar but by the last few chapters I had it down. I probably won’t listen to this complex of a book (w multiple characters)( again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 27-08-18

OK but not a rea page turner

This story was OK with numerous twists and turns but I wouldn't call it a real page turner.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful