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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lizzy Gardner, Private Investigator - a good read
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...
Published on 24 Sept. 2012 by Brian R. Martin

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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
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...
Published on 17 Dec. 2012 by Su


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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 (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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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 (England) - See all my reviews
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent crime read with sufficient darkness & violence., 23 Nov. 2012
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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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 "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard Work., 6 Oct. 2012
By 
T. Walker (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I found it almost impossible to get into this book and after a hundred pages I gave up on it.
The plot line has holes in it you could drive a truck through. Ms Ragan attempts to use the flashback technique to tell the story, but she hasn't pulled it off. The story jumps around over a twenty year period and all this achieves is to confuse the reader. The characters are thinly drawn and hardly credible. I couldn't get involved with them or indeed care about them.
I'm sorry, but I have to recommend passing on this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Lizzy Gardner ., 8 Mar. 2013
By 
Mrs. T. SALMON "upstreamers" (streatham london) - See all my reviews
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I really like this series of books I read the first one and then this one straight afterwards. I found the characters really good and we learnt more about them .It didn't rehash the first book too much. The two cases Lizzy had to cover were interesting.There once again is some we very dark moments. I love the flawed ,damaged Lizzy. I can't put these books down once I start.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A diet to die for?, 19 Oct. 2013
By 
ratscat13 "ratscat13" (North East Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This was an interesting concept for a book. It revolves around a teenager missing for 21 years, a woman who disappears after emptying out all her bank accounts and a weight loss guru.

PI Lizzie Gardner is hired to find the second missing woman by her sister who thinks the guru, Anthony Melbourne, is behind the disappearance. What follows is a strange tale with plenty of twists and turns. People who you suspect aren't all they seem turn out to be credible, credible people turn out to be hiding secrets. AS the tale progresses things become darker and darker, both around the disappearances and the secret diet programme.

It's not the greatest piece of writing but I did enjoy it. It is a new slant to a missing person novel and that was a breath of fresh air. I found some of the characters to be a little flat and two dimensional, others were obvious caricatures. I did enjoy the twists and though I had worked out what had happened to Diane before we got there the novel didn't disappoint in getting the reader to the denouement.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre..., 22 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Dead Weight (Lizzy Gardner Series, Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
The book is readable. Hayley's storyline was too unbelievable for me and hard to bear so I dreaded that. There were possibly too many characters and it was sometimes difficult to remember who was who, but that may have just been me having a hard time keeping everyone straight because the story just didn't grab me. I really could've lived without the sex scene. It was contrived and very cliche, even using the phrase "in all his glory." Sheesh...made me think of those old Harlequin romances....gross! She used that phrase in the sex scene in Abducted as well, which even added to the cliche (and the nausea) in the sequel. I finished it, won't read it again, and will forget it, probably sooner rather than later. The first in the series had a better plot and was easier to read with the plot pulling you through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DEAD WEIGHT (THE LIZZY GARDNER SERIES #2), 13 Sept. 2013
By 
A. Lucas "bookworm" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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I read the first in the Lizzy Gardner series and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was keen to get started on this one. I wasn't at all disappointed - another great story with plenty of twists and turns, good characters and an interesting plotline. I don't want to give away anything, so won't go into details - but I recommend this series of books to anyone who enjoys a good, not too gory mystery thriller. I'm really looking forward to reading the third book in this series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thriller with a difference, 29 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Dead Weight (Lizzy Gardner Series, Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I do enjoy the Lizzy Gardner thrillers the characters are very realistic and likeable and keep the reader gripped right to the end. The killer in this book came as a surprise all the way through I kept changing my mind about the killer. There is also a common thread running through this series centred on Lizzy and the issues she has following her abduction (fully explained in book 1) and also Hayley another emotionally and physically damaged young woman.
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