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Dead Weight (Lizzy Gardner Series, Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

T.R. Ragan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Private investigator Lizzy Gardner knows a thing or two about living in the past. As a teenager, she was terrorized by a serial killer, an ordeal that haunted her for more than a decade before the maniac was finally stopped. So when terminally ill Ruth Fullerton begs Lizzy to reopen the cold case into her daughter’s disappearance, it’s hard to say no. More than twenty years have passed since Carol Fullerton vanished, abandoning her car by the side of a California freeway. The police wrote her off as a runaway, yet something tells Lizzy the truth isn’t so simple…

Carol’s cold case has barely begun to thaw when Andrea Kramer shows up at Lizzy’s door. Andrea’s sister, Diane, has been missing for months, and she’s convinced a charismatic weight-loss guru—part Tony Robbins and part Richard Simmons—is responsible. Diane was obese, but could her obsession with losing weight have led to her disappearance?

As if two active missing persons cases weren’t enough, Lizzy is also trying to manage her two teenage assistants, including one as wounded and haunted by her past as Lizzy.

Fast-paced and deftly plotted, this impressive follow-up to the best-selling Abducted finds Sacramento PI Lizzy Gardner in over her head—but more determined than ever to help those no one else will.

Books In This Series (5 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description

    About the Author

    T. R. Ragan grew up in a family of five girls in Lafayette, California. An avid traveler, her wanderings have carried her to Ireland, the Netherlands, China, Thailand, and Nepal, where she narrowly survived being chased by a killer elephant. Before devoting herself to writing fiction, she worked as a legal secretary for a large corporation. She is the author of Abducted, the first Lizzy Gardner book. Writing under the name Theresa Ragan, she is also the author of Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Taming Mad Max, Finding Kate Huntley,and Having My Baby.She and her family live in Sacramento.

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    More About the Author

    Theresa Ragan (also T.R. Ragan) is the bestselling author of the Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight and A Dark Mind. Obsessed, book #4 in the Lizzy Gardner series is available for pre-order and will be released August 12, 2014. Since publishing in 2011, Theresa has sold over one million ebooks, has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, PC Magazine, Huffington Post and Publishers Weekly. Theresa signed her first publishing agreement with Thomas & Mercer in 2012 and she is having the time of her life.

    Learn more about Theresa at

    Other books by Theresa Ragan include: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Finding Kate Huntley, Taming Mad Max, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can't Refuse, and Here Comes the Bride.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Lizzy Gardner, Private Investigator - a good read 24 Sept. 2012
    By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    This is the second thriller that features the Californian private investigator Lizzy Gardner. There are several related strands in the book. One centres on the disappearance twenty years ago of a young girl, Carol Fullerton. Her mother, terminally ill with cancer, hires Lizzy to find Carol, or at least find out what happened to her. Shortly afterwards Lizzy is also hired by the sister of another missing young woman, Diane Kramer, who six months previously emptied her saving account and vanished. Diane was obese and her sister Andrea suspects that a weight reduction `guru' called Anthony Melbourne had something to do with her disappearance and wants Lizzy to investigate him. Melbourne is a control freak and has links to several of the characters in the book. In both cases things are not all they seem, with a collection of rather sinister relatives and friends who have their own histories they want to conceal, and that Lizzy gradually uncovers. Drug and alcohol addiction, pedophilia, and murder all feature strongly.

    It is not just the clients who have tangled histories. Lizzy is still recovering from a traumatic experience as a teenager, when she was kidnapped by a notorious serial killer and had to witness him torture and kill several victims. She is still vulnerable, and this is making it difficult for her to commit to her enthusiastic boy friend, who is pressing her to move in with him. Her two part-time assistants also have their own troubles, and one has become so twisted by her childhood sexual exploitation that she commences brutal revenge attacks on her abusers. So, a complex thriller with much violence towards the end. But the various themes, both professional and personal, are well integrated and there is nothing jarring in the narrative; no unbelievable coincidences and the like. It is a good example of the genre, fast moving, easy to read and not entirely predictable, with characters as believable as you are likely to find in this type of book.
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars a disappointment after the first one 17 Dec. 2012
    By Su TOP 100 REVIEWER
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    This is the second "Lizzie Gardner" book.

    Here Lizzie (a PI) is faced with 2 cases - both missing persons cases:

    - one a dying mother wants to know what happened to her daughter, Carol, who vanished 20 years ago, and

    - the other a missing woman's sister asks her to look into the disappearance.

    I "enjoyed" the first one and had really looked forward to reading this one, but this story seems to rely on coincidence for its investigative solutions.

    I admit that this reliance on coincidence, rather than well planted clues which both reader and "investigator" can discover, was a disappointment. It may be that the author, TR Ragan, had felt rushed to bring this one to the publishers - whatever the reason the book is poorly done in comparison to her first.

    To be honest I'm not sure that I will bother with the next one.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    I'm a fan of hard boiled crime fiction but Dead Weight didn't quite hit the spot. In places it's a good read but for me the plot's too busy, too cluttered, and female lead, PI Lizzy Gardener, too damaged to withstand the constant physical and emotional violence coming at her from every direction. I couldn't quite believe in Lizzy as an avenging angel kicking/punching her way out of deadly situations.

    In general the story centers around missing women and Lizzy's investigation into their disappearance but it's obvious from the start Dead Weight is really about revenge, facing the past and coming to terms with inner demons. For me the story became weakened by Lizzy's constant need to battle the past, fight against almost everything and lead herself into mega violent situations. There was only ever one conclusion and no surprises on the journey there.

    For me Dead Weight is at it's best when concentrating on the story around obesity and weight reduction guru, Anthony Melbourne, possibly one of the better written characters in the novel. Melbourne is a a decent mix of control freak and downright weirdo and a good contrast to Carol Fullerton the sister of a missing girl. Fullerton brings in the warmth and empathy while Melbourne provides the shadows. However; there's a lot of 'smoke and mirrors' with most of the characters hiding something.

    Building the mystery and linking the characters is where the author steps up and, for me, the strongest element of Dead Weight. I'd have enjoyed much more creative writing and character development from Ragan rather than the regular violent/cat and mouse sequences which aren't the best.

    Rating this novel wasn't easy and I'd have been happier with 3.5* rather than a straight 4*.
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Lizzy Improves 8 Aug. 2013
    By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    When I read Abducted, the first Lizzy Gardner book, I had some reservations. These were principally that the characters did not seem very real and hence it was quite difficult to take the story at all seriously. Despite this I decided to give the second book a try and to my mind it is a considerable improvement and is quite an enjoyable story. I am not sure if this is because the main players are somewhat familiar, having read about them before, or because it all seemed a little better put together. I suspect a combination of the two.

    This time round Lizzy is investigating the disappearance of two women. These two different cases are some twenty years apart and are not related. Of these the latest case is the key one in this tale, and the older one is more peripheral to the main plot. Diane was very overweight and the evidence regarding her disappearance points towards a weight loss guru whom she was in awe of. Diane's sister, Andrea, asks Lizzy to investigate and she is soon involved in an apparently baffling case. Meanwhile Hayley, who is working with Lizzy, has her own personal agenda to pursue against the people who abused her as a child.

    There are several different sub plots going on here, and we move from one to the other. However the result makes for an interesting tale and is coherent rather than confusing. The only personal issue I had is that there were quite a few female characters and I had to keep doing a mental exercise to place them when they reappeared, but that may have just been me. Overall an enjoyable, competently written story. I will be looking out for the third in this series.
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