Friday, February 5, 2016

#Friday Review - Find Her by Lisa Gardner (Mystery, Thriller)

Series: Detective D.D. Warren # 8
Format: E-ARC, 416 pages
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Publisher
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

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.

"Surviving is not a destination but a journey." 

Find Her is the Eighth Installment in Lisa Gardner's Detective D.D. Warren series. D.D. is back, and has another head puzzling case laid out before her. Upon arriving at a scene where a man was burned to death, and the supposed victim appears scary calm, cool, aware, and not emotionally devastated by the man's death, DD begins to think of Flora Dana as a "victim turned vixen." 

There are way too many things that just don't add up. But after Flora suddenly disappears without a trace, D.D. must put the pieces together and rely on her instinctive abilities as a Detective to find her and another girl named Stacey Summers before it is too late. Readers who have been following this series from the beginning, know that D.D. hasn't exactly had an easy time of things lately. She's spent the past 6 months recuperating from a career threatening injury to her arm, and is as jittery as a junebug hoping to return to work. 

If the case doesn't drive her over the edge, the mandatory Restricted Desk duty and massive paper work will! That and the fact her former teammates Phil & Neil now have a new detective, Carol Manley, working alongside them. I respect that Gardner has returned D.D. to more or less active duty. I also respect that D.D. is having issues with being replaced with a new detective, and facing the hard truth that she has to stop being a lone wolf.  I love that D.D. has remained sarcastic while also enjoying her time with her husband and son Jack. I look forward to having D.D. back in the field full time, taking names, and kicking asses. 

Meet 27-year old Florence "Flora" Dane. Flora was kidnapped while on Spring Break in Florida, and endured 472 days of captivity at the hands of man (Jacob Ness) who shred all of humanity out of her, then built her back up into the person he wanted her to be. After escaping death at the hands of the madman, Flora spent the next FIVE years learning all sorts of survival skills from self-defense to marksmanship, and tactical driving class. Flora has a mission. That mission isn't so clear, but once you realize that Flora is still trying make up for the wrong that she committed while with her kidnapper, you will find yourself intrigued by her mission, and hopeful that she doesn't fall totally into the darkness.

I love the tension, the suspense, and the mystery that Find Her has to offer. You really don't know who the villain is until the last moment and then it makes perfect sense. Gardner does a fantastic job of putting readers into Flora's shoes while she was being held captive. I've always respected Gardner's ability to put you in the shoes of the victim, as well as the time she takes to research the subject she writes about. This time around, Flora's adventures are not only mind numbing, but shockingly authentic. As recent novels done so, Find Her is one again told in separate narratives. First person for Flora, and third person for D.D. 

This book has been dedicated to those who were kidnapped and somehow managed to survive. Think Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Lee Dugard, the Cleveland three (Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight), yes, even Patty Hearst, and Katie Beers. One can not imagine the horrors one goes through while kidnapped and taken away from their family. One can't imagine the horrors of being kept for 472 days, let alone 10 years or more! I can't imagine how many women and children have been kidnapped over the years, and never found again. I do believe it is time to fix that problem. I firmly believe that we need to start tracking our children a whole lot better. Save the children, save our future.  

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