LOOK FOR ME by Lisa Gardner
Lisa Gardner is one of that rare group of authors who turn out book after book and maintain a high standard of quality with each and every one. Her latest novel LOOK FOR ME certainly meets her standards as it is a attention grabbing story about a murder of a family. Boston Detective D. D. Warren is called in to lead the investigation and she does so with gusto, Watching her exercise her sleuthing skills makes for audience satisfaction from the very start.
Warren has been a staple character in many of Gardner’s past books. As those who have read the previous novels know, she has been on the injured list since a past incident and has spent many months recuperating. This murder of four people in a family of five gives her a chance to spring back into action. She likes to place the burden of an investigation squarely on her own shoulders. In this case however, as much as she hates to admit it her best ally in this race to solve the crime is Flora Dane, a kidnap victim turned vigilante.
Flora was kidnapped and held captive by a male predator for over four hundred days. She survived and now has dedicated her life to helping others who have been the victims of similar crimes. As “counselor” to a group of other survivors she has learned of a teenage girl named Roxanna Baez. This becomes important to D. D. as Roxanne was the only person in her family who was not killed in a home invasion of sorts. Roxanne was out walking the family’s two dogs. The question is whether or not this is the truth or is it an alibi for a crime she committed.
Lisa Gardner thrives on presenting plots like this. They are reasonable and detailed which is another reason she is one of today’s most readable authors. The basic plot of this story plays out over two or three days and is a course in solid crime work. We see the means and methods used by Warren and we get the added tutorial of watching Flora incorporate her own experiences as a means to help others.
Since the story plays out over three days Gardner uses this as a way to give more details of the characters’ lives. Some of the most incidental characters earn full backgrounds from Gardner and this adds to the richness of her storytelling.
Another plus is the attention given the horrendous subject of emotional and physical abuse suffered by children. Only by bringing this subject into the light of public awareness can corrections be made. Gardner pulls back the curtain on faults ignored by society and profiles how young people are caught up in bullying, sexual assault and other tragedies of our time.
One drawback to the effectiveness of Gardner’s story is her use of the first person in certain chapters to present the events from Flora’s viewpoint. At all other times Gardner uses the third person means of writing her novel. This switch in viewpoints is disrupting.
Still the overall impact of LOOK FOR ME is a very positive one. Gardner is exceptionally talented and shows it on every page of this book. LOOK FOR ME is a page turning mystery and you should “look for it” as quickly as you can.
LOOK FOR ME is published by Dutton. It contains 400 pages and sells for $27.00.
Jackie K Cooper