Sunday, January 10, 2021

Before She Disappeared

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
1/19/21; 400 pages
Penguin Publishing Group

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner is a very highly recommended crime thriller. Don't miss this incredible heart-stopping stand-alone novel!

"My name is Frankie Elkin and finding missing people - particularly minorities - is what I do. When the police have given up, with the public no longer remembers, when the media has never bothered to care, I start looking. For no money, no recognition, and most of the time, no help."

Frankie, a middle-aged woman and recovering alcoholic, spends her life searching for missing people long after the case has gone cold. Her new search is for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished eleven months earlier at the age of fifteen. She moves to Boston and finds a job at a bar with an apartment available above it in the rough Mattapan neighborhood where Angelique lived. Frankie wastes no time introducing herself to the family, Angelique's Aunt Guerline and her younger brother, Emmanuel, and letting the Boston PD know she is looking into the case. Frankie is used to having to dig out information and investigate on her own, so the initial resistance from Detective Lotham is expected but doesn't hold her back.

Frankie is unquestionably an extraordinary fully developed new character full of depth, intelligence, and complexity. She has a dark past and is running from her own demons but she faces it all with honesty and tenacity. Everyday is a struggle to not drink while seeking information to bring her case to completion. She sets her personal safety aside as she asks questions and searches for the truth hidden by layers of subterfuge and obfuscation. At the same time Frankie is an unconventional woman. She has a quirky personality and a mouth on her as she says what's on her mind and holds nothing back. The wonderful fact is that all the characters are well-developed and presented as unique individuals.

Adding to the excellent character development is the absolutely perfect and, quite frankly, masterful writing in this un-put-downable thriller. Gardner grabs your attention - by the throat - right at the start and from then on the plot is riveting and spellbinding while the intense pace increases incrementally. The sense of danger is palpable as Frankie looks for the truth.  I simply could not put this novel down once I started it. It can't be denied that Gardner has a gift for writing.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group

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