Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Gripping, and very, very clever
on 6 February 2013
Lisa Gardener has developed a winning formula for writing fast paced and intelligent suspense novels. Firstly, we have someone in imminent peril - in this case a husband and wife and their daughter who are kidnapped and held in a mothballed prison in rural New Hampshire. Then she adds the point of view of the investigators - a welcome return in this book for Tessa Leoni who is now working as a corporate investigator and the addition of a local detective (and a very funny guest appearance from DD Warren). We read the first hand account of the main protagonist who slowly discovers what is happening and also reveals things which are part of the explanation of the crime, and this is balanced with the story of the investigation team who are always a little behind but often uncover things unknown to the main character. This is the way in which the author has written her last few books, all of which are excellent, and she uses the same method to tell this story.
This makes for great reading. The frequent switches in points of view from the victim to the investigator helps to reveal things slowly whilst engaging our involvement. There are a large number of red herrings thrown in and plenty of suspects to confuse matters. As always, the full story is not revealed until the last few pages and we are never sure right until the end that there will not be another twist in the story - and there often is. In this book the revelations keep on coming right to the final page.
What makes this book rise above mere formula writing is the clever plotting. The reader thinks that they know what is happening but in actual fact something entirely different is occurring; nobody is who they appear to be and everyone has a secret. I have to say that I had worked out what had probably happened about half way through the book but I had also thought of lots of other possibilities, all of which also made sense given what we knew at that point, which were not true. The other added factor which raises this author's books above the average, is excellent characterisation. Lisa Gardner is brilliant at portraying confused and despairing people who find their own way out of the difficulties that life has thrown at them - Justin , Ashlyn and Libby are all very realistic people, each with their own problems, but so too are the kidnappers and the investigation team.
This book is a great read. It has a clever plot and is written in such a way that you are hooked from the beginning. There are plenty of twists and surprises to keep you guessing and the excellent characterisation means that you become totally involved in the story and invested in knowing what has happened to this family and what will happen to them. For anyone who enjoys an intelligent, gripping, fast-paced and enjoyable suspense novel.