I am delighted to share my review today for Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and my huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for advanced copy of this brilliant book.
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten
Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.
A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.
The synopsis gives a great intro as to who Frankie Elkin is, and I have to say she is a character who I really like. She has her vulnerabilities and it is through the course of the story that you gradually learn more about her.
Frankie is someone who doesn’t really fit in, she is not able to stay in one place for long. A drifter who is seeking the truth behind people who have gone missing. She has swapped the addiction of alcohol for finding people. For someone that doesn’t quite fit, she does seem to be able to make unlikely acquaintances and has discovered that not being a figure in authority makes her more trustworthy as such. Maybe trustworthy isn’t the right word, but people open up to her more. I think her character is one that uses truth and honesty about her alcoholism and uses it in everyday situations.
Her latest case choice is that of a missing schoolgirl, a bright girl who didn’t get into trouble and always attends class and has a good future ahead of her. Why then would she disappear. The case has gone cold and Frankie decides that she want s to help.
I hadn’t realised that there were people who actually do this in real life. Not for monetary gain or fame but just to help families find closure or to reunite them.
The story of Frankie and her involvement is one that takes time, it is a good paced story and one that I found myself eagerly turning pages for. The characters cover a mixed bunch, some have more involvement than others, but there aren’t any hangers-on so it makes the flow so good. The main premise is finding a missing girl, but the story is a lot more than that as Frankie soon discovers. It is a story that gradually unearths more than she originally bargained for.
I do like how the author has woven Frankie’s story around that of the missing girl’s case and this is where some of the other characters come in and are worked well. Being a recovering alcoholic gives her an in if you like, AA is a support group so it does stand to reason that there will be a character that will go the extra step.
This is a cracking story and one that I found really addictive. It is a crime mystery but not of the blood and guts kind. There is a mix of gangs, police, friendly faces as well as discovering Frankies mysterious past. It is a book that I would definitely recommend and I am looking forward to reading more of this author’s previous books.
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