by Lisa Gardner – Such a good book! Tightly plotted, layered and fast-paced, this book was a thrill ride, almost spinning out of control, but never flying off the rails. The POV characters are richly realized, with nuances that go beyond quirks, so that a reader can genuinely care about them. And the ending is satisfying without being pat or predictable.
Indeed, the novel is everything the synopsis says it is… with one exception: this book should not be labeled as the second book in the Detective D.D. Warren series. As with “Alone,” the first book to be listed in this series, the main character is Bobby Dodge, now a detective with the Massachusetts State Patrol. Half of the story is told from his point of view; the other half is from that of Annabelle, a woman who may be the key to solving the mystery behind a murder scene that is 20-plus years old. Both of these POV characters tell us what Warren says or does, but we never see the story develop from her vantage point, and she’s not even a main character in the bloody climax of the thing. It’s disappointing that the author and/or publishers have chosen to present the first two novels that supposedly tell Warren’s story from the viewpoints of strangers. Truly, they are both more Bobby Dodge’s novels than Warrens.
This may seem like a small thing, but it is big enough to have kept ripping me out of the story, which is no mean feat, given how exciting and involving the events are. I kept waiting for the story to become Warren’s, but was continually disappointed.
Look, labels are important, both for marketing and for managing expectations. Perhaps it’s easier for publishers to market procedurals/thrillers that are written by women if the main character is a female cop. And perhaps that led the publisher to pretend that these two novels truly are about Warren. If so, he or she has underestimated readers, who will read a great story no matter the label. And he or she also underestimated the potential backlash (i.e., loss of readers) if a group of them decided they had been lied to and weren’t willing to give book 3 in the series a shot. As for me, because I got suckered into reading book 5 first (as it was labeled “Tessa Leoni #1) and therefore I know Warren becomes a POV character somewhere between books 2 and 5, I’ll keep reading the series, waiting for that crossover moment. After all, the books are really good, the publisher’s bait-n-switch deception notwithstanding.
Highly recommended, but only if you’re not too fussed about truth in advertising. (finished 7/15/14)