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on 20 March 2010
Trooper Bobby Dodge works for the Massachusetts Special Tactics and Operation Team (STOP) and is called to a domestic disturbance. Shots have been fired and from his vantage point Bobby sees a man raise a gun and point it at the woman in the room, threatening to kill her. In a split second Bobby decides to act and shoots the man. It transpires that the victim is Jimmy Gagnon, the son of powerful Judge Gagnon. There are theories that his widow Catherine, who Bobby acted to save, is actually the dangerous one of the couple. Judge Gagnon intends to remove his grandson from her care, accusing her of deliberately making the child sick. Such warped behaviour may be a consequence of her own damaged past; for Catherine was abducted as a child and held for a month underground before escaping. The Judge also believes Bobby Dodge was duped into the shooting and that Jimmy's death suits Catherine's schemes. With suspicion surrounding everyone, Catherine and Bobby are thrown together, but will she be his nemesis? Meanwhile sadistic criminal Richard Umbrio is released from prison and thirsty for revenge.
A slick tale from Gardner with clever play on the is-she-a-saint-or-a-sinner riff. There are one or two moments of purple prose, when dealing with love and lust, that felt like they'd wandered in from a Mills and Boon but skip over these - the rest is a suspenseful page-turner.

Cath Staincliffe author of the popular Sal Kilkenny mysteries and the series creator of TV Blue Murder
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on 22 February 2005
Alone by Lisa Gardner is an amazing crime story. It al began with the death of Jimmy Gagnon, son of Judge Gagnon. Jimmy was killed by State trooper Bobby Dodge who with a tactical swat team was trying to defuse a supposedly domestic abuse hostage crisis. But the judge and his wife believe Jimmy's wife, Catharine Gagnon engineered the crisis to get rid of their son, so they want their only grandson taken from her. They start by suing Bobby Dodge and with that unfolded incidences which invokes Catherine's past as a victim of a pedophile half a century back.

Embroiled in the mystery of the unfolding drama is the lurking presence of the serial rapist, manipulation by the late Jimmy's parents, the helplessness of the grandson, Catherine's calculating nature and Bobby Dodge's determination to resolve the mysteries behind all the deaths around. Just like USURPER AND OTHER STORIES you are thrilled until the last pages of the book.
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on 3 May 2007
A similar family pschological thriller to the popular 'Little Face' but I liked this better. The book delves into the extent a Mother goes to protect her son, amidst hostile in-laws and an abusive husband. The extra plot here is that the husband is killed by a police sniper during a domestic altercation, and the story considers the point of view from the policeman. Did he do the right thing or was he somehow set up?

Both Mother and cop have dark pasts which add to the psyche and keep the twists going to the last few pages. Good stuff!
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2008
This book was so fast paced it really was shocking. Each of the lead characters were enjoyable to read about and completely believable. Lisa Gardner really shone here and her talents were literally just a joy to read in parts.

The pace was kept up through-out and towards the end the shocks just kept coming without becoming unbelievable.

A really good read, so glad I picked it up and you will be too!
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on 26 November 2008
Lisa Gardner has done it again.Another brilliant psychological thriller to keep you up all night! Without giving the storyline away, this book has a great plot with loads of twists to keep you hooked. If this is your first time of reading any of her novels you won't be disappointed.Once you have finished reading this book I'm sure you will go out and buy Hide, which continues with a new story with the main character, Bobby Dodge. Enjoy!
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on 10 October 2013
I'm glad that this wasn't the first Lisa Gardner book I had read. If it had been I would never have read another. I know authors need a little poetic licence but I really don't think there is a police officer in the world - at least not one with half a working brain cell who would do what Bobby Dodge does! Shame
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on 2 November 2014
Alone is the second novel I’ve read by Lisa Gardner, and is part of her D.D. Warren and Bobby Dodge series (unrelated to Gone which is part of the Peirce Quincy series.)

In comparison to Gone I found Alone much harder to get into. I believe this to be because the events in Alone take place over a much longer period of time, therefore the pace of Alone is much slower than that of Gone. It was still a compelling novel, Gardner’s attention to detail continued to impress and eventually I found myself unable to put it down, but it certainly took much longer to get that point than when I was reading Gone.

Despite it being part of the D.D. Warren series, this book follows Bobby Dodge closely and D.D. Warren appears only intermittently. Perhaps reading the series in order would be better but unfortunately I had no concept of there being an order or different series in fact. The inside covers of Gardner novels do highlight her other works, but it does nothing to help the reader follow either series or any kind of order.

Moving on, Alone was fascinating in regards to its plot and character development. There were truly unexpected turn of events, plot twists which were described in a way which was just enough; never too much- making them believable and I would never have suspected them. Again, as in Gone, character development within Alone is a driving force in this novel. It flows easily within the plot, paragraphs are just the right length and descriptive passages are acute; with minor characters being used to add context to our major characters.
Crime thrillers are often so abundant with minor characters, police etc. thankfully I don’t feel that Gardner has fallen into this literary trap of the genre.

Alone produced some very strong emotions from me as a reader. There was plenty of death, murder and sexual tension. Raw emotion flowed from the characters such as Bobby Dodge and Catherine Gagnon and I felt the shock they felt, the fear they experienced and the drive to survive was so forcefully evident- it made me unable to put the book down. I kept willing those major characters to make that all important connection, to realise who the real threat was. Those parts in particular were very exciting to read.

One interesting technique Gardner has used in Alone, is that she never allows her readers to become completely trusting of any of the characters. One sentence, one action can change how you feel about a certain person. But in the next chapter you can be forced to re-think this opinion again and again. You are never wholly sure of who is bad and who is good; perhaps this is a reflection on the idea that people are a combination of both. By the end of the novel I was still unsure of Catherine Gagnon, and the answers and never fully revealed. But don’t worry this doesn’t leave you feeling too dissatisfied; there is enough resolution to whet a reader’s appetite.

Once more I strongly encourage you try Lisa Gardner’s work, but would wholly advocate that you try to reader the series in order, I don’t doubt this would improve your overall experience of Gardner and her characters.
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Set in South Boston, this crime novel begins as Bobby finishes a long day shift but is unexpectedly called out to a hostage situation in a wealthy suburb where shots have been fired and a man is suspected of holding his wife and four year old son in a barricaded bedroom.

Bobby is a member of an elite sniper team as part of his police obligations and he is set up in a house overlooking the bedroom with the job of assessing how dangerous the situation is for mother and child. At one point of his surveillance he has to make a decision of whether the man, holding the wife and child hostage, is going to kill one or either of the hostages. Bobby makes his decision as the man steps towards the woman, holding the child, judging that the point of extreme danger has arrived and the man is about to kill. He shoots the man dead.

He has the backing of his team, for the crucial decision, but the father of the man he has shot happens to be a judge and he threatens Bobby with a murder charge. There is some fine writing describing the moments as Bobby has to make his decision, but from this point as the extremely convoluted plot transpires, nothing goes as it should for Bobby.

The hostility of some of the questioning by other cops is breathtaking at times. One group has decided (or had it decided for them) that Bobby is guilty of cold-blooded murder. He does have some people looking out for him, however, and though some of their help has to be clandestine, he receives support from those who know him best.

Then we come to the odd coincidences, such as that surrounding the woman and baby. The child has a series of illnesses and the suggestion is made that Catherine, the woman in the bedroom, who was previously the victim of a paedophile who kept her in a secret location for 28 days when she was twelve years old, is subject to Munchausen’s by Proxy. I won’t reveal any more of the plot, but it is worked through with some imagination and a series of unlucky or – “hold onto your hat” circumstances. It all works well enough, however, until the denouement when another hostage situation, this time in a hotel suite, with Bobby, Catherine, all the baddies and goodies, including the paedophile, a puppy dog and four-year-old boy taking part. This is ludicrous – a shoe-in for a B-move at heart. Nevertheless, for all it’s failures in the believability stakes, it works and delivers a quite satisfactory ending.
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on 12 May 2013
Enjoyed This Psychological Crime Thriller, May 12, 2013
By James A. Anderson "Author" (London, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: Alone (D. D. Warren) (Kindle Edition)
An excellent crime thriller by a very good writer.

This is my first Lisa Gardner novel, but won't be my last. I rather enjoyed this psychological crime thriller with its many twists and turns and a cast of highly interesting characters. A real page turner that kept me reading to find out how it ends.

Bobby Dodge is a Boston SWAT team sniper who shoots and kills a husband holding his wife and son hostage with a gun. But is everything as it seems? Was Bobby manipulated by the wife, Catharine, into killing her abusive husband? His actions face police investigation. She was kidnapped and sexually abused as a child and to complicate matters, her abductor is out on parole and after her and her child, hired by Benefacor X.

Here's where the novel fails a bit because Benefactor X is so obvious you know the culprit almost from the start and Gardner's suspense is lacking here. The end however is very exciting and offers a few surprises.

The book is listed as a D.D. Warren mystery. She is a Boston female detective but is only a secondary character. Bobby Dodge plays a much more prominent part in this novel. I would have liked to have seen D.D. Warren play a larger role in the story. I think she was underused and underplayed by the author.

It is for the above reasons I have given this book 4 stars instead of 5.

Still, overall it was a very good and exciting read and I'd read others by this author.
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on 19 January 2014
I have to admit after having read all of Chris Mooney's books (mostly Boston crime thrillers)I've been left with an aching feeling for the suspense he dished up time and time again. I thought perhaps I had found a way to fulfil that desire with my discovery of Lisa Gardner and her books; which seem to appear similar in manner and theme to Chris Mooney's books. Boy, was I wrong. This was my first time trying to read one of her books and I won't be reading another again. I don't even know where to start. The whole book was a major disappointment. I thought about stopping it a few times because truth be told I really didn't feel a connection to ANY of the characters. The story is sloppy and the twists and turns in it lack substance. In fact, whilst reading I sometimes got confused how she even got the point in which I was reading. I think she expects the reader to hang on to every word because she loosely speaks of unspeakable acts (like sodomy, rape, incest etc). Truth is, however, the shockers she was serving seemed just that, an attempt to create suspense and shock without having built a connection, but all it did for me is question her use of such horrors. Terribly disappointed. Desperate for some good suspense and waiting patiently for Chris Mooney to release the fifth Darby McCormick book or Malcolm Fletcher book.
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