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4.4 out of 5 stars
Touch & Go
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Touch & Go (Kindle Edition)
'touch-and-go
adj.
Dangerous and uncertain in nature or outcome; precarious; delicate '
Free Dictionary

The Granite State, that strong image of New Hampshire, is the image that resonates throughout this novel. Though the crime is initiated in Massachusetts, much of the action takes place in New Hampshire. Libby Denbe, a woman who has everything, a wealthy husband, a beautiful loving teenaged daughter, lives in the Back Bay of Boston. This is an exclusive area of the city known for it's magnificent homes and buildings. It is here in Libby and home that the crime takes place. Ashlyn, their daughter, home alone, while Libby and go out to dinner , the first step in repairing their marriage.

Tessa Leoni, a former Mass.State Trooper, is now working as a detective for a security firm. She had a disastrous end to her marriage, and now she is trying to make money to support her daughter. She is called early on a Saturday morning to assess the activities that have taken place at the Denbe home. When she arrives she finds DDWarren, the detective in charge of major crimes and her colleagues. It seems the family is missing and through extraordinary means they discover the family is in northern New Hampshire. The local Authorities are notified, and we meet Sherrif Wyatt. Both of these new characters, Tessa Leoni and Sherrif Wyatt, are characters we will meet again, strong and attractive, each in their own way.

This story has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. It is filled with some violence, but most of it has to do with relationships. Relationships that failed and are remembered. The Denbe Construction Firm plays. Huge part in this novel, as do the people who work there. What we have is not always what we see, and in this novel that is true in spades.

As always, Lisa Gardner writes an extraordinary novel. This may be one of her best. I had a hint to the outcome, but didn't come close. That, to me, is the clue to a book that is one if the best.

Recommended. prisrob 11-12-13
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 May 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Lisa Gardner throws the reader straight into the action and keeps up a cracking pace, with some nice twists along the way. Touch and Go makes an enjoyable undemanding read which would be ideal for beside the pool or a long flight.
However, Gardner is not the greatest prose writer and doesn't give much of a sense of place, which I always like in a thriller - her Boston doesn't match Michael Connelly's Los Angeles. And the characters can seem slightly bland, almost formulaic. The narrative cuts between two points of view, which helps the action along but sometimes seems a little like cheating in a mystery novel.
As for the denouement, well, it wasn't 100% convincing, but it certainly wasn't what I expected at the start, and perhaps that's all that counts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having enjoyed Lisa Gardner's previous novels I was looking forward to this latest. By page 100 I was losing interest. The plot and pacing are far too slow and the novel really needed a strong editor to enforce some pruning. Even though this was an advance 'uncorrected manuscript proof copy' I was surprised by the number of errors (spellcheckers don't spot the wrong word being used!) and poor formatting adding to the impression that this was actually an earlier draft rather than the final version. The author has said that this is the book she's wanted to write for a long time. It should have been an exciting story. Unfortunately it is not. There are a number of unconvincing characters and plot elements that simply don't ring true.Two words best describe this novel: heavy going. But if this is your first Lisa Gardner novel don't be put off.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I am a pretty big Lisa Gardner fan, especially of her DD Warren series. Her newest release Touch and Go is due for release in February 2012 but I was fortunate to receive an early reader copy. Her latest book features Tessa Leoni (who also appeared in Love You More) who is called in after the Denbe family are abducted. Upon arrival at Justin and Libby Denbe's home, there are no signs of a break in, and there is no ransom demand. It seems like the couple and their teenage daughter have vanished into thin air. The more Tessa digs, the more it seems a little too perfect. To the outside world they are the perfect couple, with Justin running a very wealthy and successful company and a beautiful home.

As usual the pace is pretty frenetic from the very beginning. Justin and Libby are on date night when then enter their home and are taken by surprise. As the reader we see both sides of the story, both from the family's perspective and the Detectives as well. As the story progresses we also meet Sergeant Wyatt Foster who participates in the case with Tessa. Having read the book Love You More I was familiar with Tessa's history, however if you haven't read it there is certainly enough background for readers to understand her past. I really loved Tessa and Wyatt working together and thought they made a good team

From the very early stages, although we see what is happening to the family (can't say too much for fear of spoilers) we also see the police trying to solve the puzzle. With no clear cut motive it means examining every person who is close to the family. I found myself constantly changing my mind on who I thought was culpable, and thankfully it only became clear towards the very end (which is always a bonus in my eyes). The family were easy to read about and part of that attraction was seeing them crumble under the immense strain they are put under in their kidnapping situation. Layers are peeled away to reveal a family far from perfect and this makes the story even more interesting than the bog standard murder novel.

When I got to the end I was not entirely shocked at the outcome but thought that the book was another great read by Lisa Gardner. Admittedly I still favour DD Warren, but I think Tessa Leoni could be the star of another series. If she is I can only hope that Wyatt Foster goes along for the ride. Not my favourite Lisa Gardner book, but an awesome read that will keep you guessing until the end.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2013
Touch and Go, in my opinion, is Lisa Gardner's weakest novel to date. A very wealthy Bostonian family are kidnapped by a highly skilled, organised trio yet there is no ransom demand. On the surface, Justin and Libby Denbe, along with their 15 year old daughter (her name escapes me) are the perfect little family. However, it soon becomes apparent that Justin was cheating on his wife, Libby is addicted to prescription painkillers in a hope to overcome the hurt of having a cheating husband and the daughter, feeling isolated, sleeps with somebody she really should not have.

The family are captured and held captive in a newly built prison left empty in the wilds of New England. Mostly, Libby cooks for her family and captors and worries about the sodium content in the tinned food, Justin struts around as the Alpha male and the daughter kind of drifts around. They sleep and they argue in their cell. They are tasered a lot and Justin is quite badly beaten up. Nothing much else happens here.

The investigators tasked with trying to find this little domestic disaster are Private Investigator Tessa Leoni (hired by Denbe Construction) Detective Wyatt Somebody (who spends a lot of time thinking about wood) and two FBI agents (can't remember their names), one of whom is a replica of Kimberly Quincy's ice maiden persona but with none of the personality. They spend most of their time interviewing everybody in sight and then rushing to the prison to save the day.

My favourite characters by far were two of the 'baddies' - Z and Radar, the dastardly devils! Z is the leader - a highly disciplined, lethal and clever military man, he is without doubt the best part of this book. The second redeeming character is Radar, a nerdy ex soldier with medical skills that prove highly useful. There is a third 'baddie' but he's really just an unhinged ex soldier with 'mad, scary eyes'.

This book is okay, but all that really happens is a little cooking and bit of tasering - it's more like the worst holiday ever than a horrifying kidnapping ordeal. I did fully approve of the ending, though.

The last Gardner book that I read that wowed me was Say Goodbye. Books after that, i've found, were a little too tame. I really hope she goes back to the FBI profiler series or creates new characters, because Tessa Leoni and D.D Warren don't do it for me. Apologies for not being able to remember character names.
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Justin and Libby Dembe go out on a date night in an effort to sort out their marital problems caused by his infidelity. When they arrive home they are kidnapped along with their 15 year old daughter, Ashlyn, and taken to a mothballed prison where they are held captive. A prison that Justin's company built.
Tessa Leoni, PI and ex cop, is called in by Justin's company to independently investigate the incident.
A professional job, no clues, no ransom demand and few leads. Certainly not a robbery as all their valuables, mobile phones etc. are left on the kitchen worktop.
Justin had a tracker device sewn in his jacket which shows they are in New Hampshire but when local sheriff, Wyatt Foster, traces the signal he finds just a piece of material with the device and the owner is long gone. Because more than one state is involved the FBI are called in.
Tessa and Wyatt team up and a ransom demand is finally received but will the family still be alive?
The story goes backwards and forwards from the investigators to the kidnappers and then to the family.
It is tense and compelling, many family secrets being revealed as it reaches a frightening conclusion.
A great book and will be reading many more Lesa Gardner novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 April 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was looking forward to reading this as I have enjoyed previous books by Lisa Gardner but Touch and Go was a big disappointment for me. I found it overly long, extremely tedious and a chore to read - the story did not draw me in and I didn't care about the characters. A big thumbs down from me on this one! I would advise anyone new to Lisa Gardners's books, to check out her previous novels and not start with Touch and Go.
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Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having enjoyed other titles by Lisa Gardner, I was looking forward to reading this one. It did not disappoint in that, true to form it's a thriller with lots of twists and turns, the author skilfully manipulating the reader; you continually have your opinion and perception changed of the various characters and the perpetrator of the crime; the kidnapping of a family.

The story sees Justin and Libby Denbe and their daughter Ashlyn, the family who seem to "have it all" being kidnapped. Investigator Tessa Leoni, who first featured in Love You More, is set to investigating the family's disappearance along with the authorities. I thought that I might have trouble empathising with the family, who at first glance seem rich and perfect, but as the story unrolls, through use of different viewpoints, the family and their various quirks and weaknesses made for more sympathetic characters than I envisaged. I did guess the twist at the end before it happened, and found the book dragged a little about three quarters of the way through, but none the less this book had me hooked.
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read a couple of Lisa Gardner books before and they are good, easy to read thrillers so this one had promise.
Having read the blurb, I was surprised when it started in the first person with the narrator being Libby, the wife of the family going missing.
As the book progresses the narrators change so that the reader sees all viewpoints, resulting in a very compelling story which keeps you guessing. We particularly get into the head of the investigators, keeping the story at a fast pace (considering it all happens over the space of just a few days).
The characters are all introduced well with sufficient back story used to place their context as part of the novel.
I thought that the ending was fairly simple to work out although there were lots of well presented options which were thrown up and crossed off one by one. Nothing is overly complicated making it a great easy to read book which moves along at a cracking pace (I read fairly quickly but even I thought that nearly 650 pages in two days meant that I thoroughly enjoyed this book).
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