Penguin Publishing Group: 2/9/16
eBook review copy; 416 pages
Detective D. D. Warren Series #8
Find Her by Lisa Gardner is a very highly recommended thriller/mystery that should keep you biting your nails while on the edge of your seat.
Seven years ago college student Flora (Florence) Dane was kidnapped while on spring break in Florida. For 472 days she was held captive by Jacob Ness, a sadistic rapist and sexual predator. Many of those days were spent locked up in a wooden coffin-like box. While many thought she was dead, her mother never gave up hope, although, in reality, the old Flora did die. The woman who returned after the FBI rescued her was not the same woman who was kidnapped.
The returned Flora has taken self-defense classes and is obsessed with survival techniques so she will never become a victim again. When she engages in some risky behavior and is kidnapped by a new predator, Devon Goulding, he has no idea who he is dealing with. The police are called in when Devon ends up dead. Flora is found at the scene, naked, her hands tied, and not talking except when she demands to call FBI victim specialist, Dr. Samuel Keynes. He helped her after her first abduction and he comes to her aid again as he attempts to explain her situation to the police.
The investigation is led by Boston detective D. D. Warren, who is on restricted duty. Warren can't help but visit the scene and take an active role in the investigation. Once she learns of Flora's past, question arise about Flora's current situation. Is she looking for trouble or is she looking for something else? And why is Keynes still so involved with Flora?
Then Flora ends up missing and Warren fears her disappearance may be tied into another missing girl. Stacey Summers disappeared three months earlier and Flora has taken a keen interest in the case. Warren works with Keynes and Flora's mother to try and understand what happened to Flora and if it is related to the other missing girl.
Keep the subject matter in mind when considering this gritty novel. This is a dark, frightening novel due to the subject matter and the insights into the psychology of sadistic sexual predators and capture-bonding or the Stockholm Syndrome. Gardner also explores the psychology of victims and survivors of violent crime. Flora is both a victim and a survivor. She is also may be irreparably damaged from her 472 days of captivity and what she endured during that time.
The novel alternates between the present day investigation, Flora's current situation, and the events that occurred earlier when Flora was held by Jacob Ness. Flora is a great protagonist and you will be hoping she can survive and perhaps find a modicum of peace and reach a resolution to help her live in the present after everything she has endured.
Great writing, increasing tension, and a fast pace make this a perfect stuck-over-night-at-the-airport book. This is a stand-alone novel so it won't matter if you haven't read a D.D. Warren book in Gardner's series.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Penguin Publishing Group for review purposes.