Author – Lisa Gardner
Published – 2016
Genre – Crime fiction
I’d like to think that I will eventually get round to reading and reviewing all the books I have sitting on my TBR pile and as this book’s been on it since late 2015 it’s proof that it’s not impossible. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is quite a difficult book to review without giving too much of the plot away.
I was gripped from the opening “When you first wake up in a dark wooden box, you’ll tell yourself this isn’t happening.” With that we learn that Flora is trapped in a coffin-shaped box, trying to figure out the constraints of her prison, not knowing what might happen if the box is opened.
Skip forward and we know that somehow Flora survived because 5 years after her captivity ended she’s developed a nasty habit of finding herself the target of some unwanted attention, attention that she is now more than capable of handling. Her path crosses that of Detective D. D. Warren when a chance encounter in a Boston bar ends with a dead body in a garage. It seems Flora has taken an unhealthy interest in young women who have disappeared.
I was completely gripped, both by the story of Flora and her survival. The book poses the question of whether Flora is a victim, or a vigilante, not something that even Flora can answer. The story of her abduction as a young girl unfolds through the book, with some hard truths that Flora herself can’t face up to. Her abduction changes her, creates a new Flora, and there are many things that new Flora will do that the old one wouldn’t have believed possible.
I enjoyed the balance of thriller/mystery/suspense alongside the development of Flora’s character – how she was broken down but then rebuilt herself and how the new Flora struggled to connect to her old life. The details of the abduction, which didn’t dwell on the sexual aspects, rang true, her experiences seemed credible as did the emotional impact. One of those books that weaves a twisty yarn but also prompts you to think about some of the issues it raises – how do people who have suffered in this sort of attack ever return to a ‘normal’ life – the one which they fought to survive for?
This book is number 8 in the Detective D. D. Warren series, not having read any others in the series wasn’t an issue but perhaps you would get more out of the book if you’re familiar with the character. While her point of view was important to the story and moving the mystery forward, it was Flora who was the star of the piece.
A real page-turner with some incredibly tense scenes and thought-provoking character development. Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.