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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mini-review: Find Her by Lisa Gardner (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website
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AUTHOR INFORMATION: Lisa Gardner is a NYT bestselling author with over 19 books and several short stories and novellas in publication. She was born and brought up in Oregon before moving to the east coast for her degree. Lisa graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania and sold her first novel when she was just 20 years of age. Four of her books have previously graced the small screen in TV movie format. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her family.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Flora Dane is a victim.

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless.

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I’m a newcomer to Lisa Gardner’s books but I’ve heard of how thrilling they can be. When I was approached for a review for Lisa’s most recent book, I wanted to jump in and see how they held up to the reputation that I had heard about. I knew before hand that this book was the 8th in the D.D. Warren series but each book is supposed to be a standalone entry as well.

The story is divided into three separate point-of-view sections, the first one focuses on Flora Dane nearly six years ago when she was abducted and physically, mentally tortured. The second time when we see Flora, she has been “changed” by her ordeal however she’s now actively looking out & helping other women like her. Lastly the perspective we see is from our protagonist D. D. Warren. While D.D. is the main protagonist, Flora on the other hand is a solid counter protagonist who the readers will be conflicted about.

The story will have the reader trying to piece the events happening in Flora’s life as well as the aftermath which is investigated by D.D. Both of them are strong characters and tough women, plus both have led complex lives due to actions of others. The author has to be lauded for writing a complex plot wherein the readers will be rooting for both of them even though their actions might run contrary to each other. The plot is very twisted and with the dual timeline structure, we get to see events unfold in the past (with Flora) and in the present (with Flora & D.D.). Kudos to the author for making both very sympathetic as well as introducing a good side character cast.

What really got me invested in the story (besides characterization) was the plot pace, the story is unrelenting in its scope and the readers are constantly shown different angles and the plot twists will literally shake your orientation. This book explores the psychology of victims and people who don’t wish to identify as victims anymore. The story then further peels back the curtain on certain characters and this story truly works on a psychologically creepy level. The author makes use of certain facts that would surprise the hell out of you (I know I was shocked), this is especially seen with Flora and the things she learnt during and after her captivity.

Overall this story ends in such a terrific way that I want to learn more about D.D. and the other characters that we met. I will definitely be reading the previous books in the D.D. Warren series and will be looking more into Lisa Gardner’s writing as she’s proven herself to a be a master thriller writer.

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