First Sentence: A year later, what Sarah remembered most was waking up to the sound of giggling.
Flora Dane is a survivor. Now she finds other survivors and helps them regain control of their own lives. A family of four has been brutally murdered in their home. But where is Roxanne, the 16-year-old daughter? Is she the killer? Or did she escape? Det. Sgt. D.D. Warren is out for answers either way.
Here's an opening which captures one's attention. Horrible and grim, it nonetheless compels one to continue reading; something Gardner does very well. Gardner also raises an excellent point about survivors of trauma—"Being a survivor didn't just mean being strong. It meant being lonely. Honestly, truly lonely."
There are truths here—"If there is one thing I've learned these past few years, it's that there's not one right way to deal with trauma. Each of you will have to find your tricks, just like I did. And some days will be so impossible, you'll wonder how you can go on. … we are all just trying to find the light."
Gardner has created such strong characters. These are not people one would necessarily want in one's life, but they are characters one will remember long after the final page. Flora Dane returns from the previous book "Find Me" yet those who did not read that book won't feel the miss of it. Flora is a dynamic character—"It takes a villain to make a hero. And it took a monster to make me."—with an anything but normal past. D.D. is a wonderful balance to her; a wife, a mother, a cop who is dedicated to her job but able to keep an open mind rather than take things at face value. The inclusion of the missing Roxanne's "Personal Narrative; What is the Perfect Family" provides her background, one intriguing bit at a time.
Initially, the switch of POVs can be confusing trying to keep track of who is who. Fortunately, that does become clearer as one reads on. The other point is that the sense of place isn't very strong. Other than the occasional mention, the story could have been set almost anywhere. The references are there, but one needs to pay attention.
The story does bog down a bit in the middle, but everything is important, and the pace does pick back up. Gardner's description of the impact the opioid epidemic has had on the demand for foster care is depressing and frightening when one thinks of the impact on the children.
"Look for Me" has an excellent plot filled with twists and surprises. There are some books you sit down and read straight through. This is one such book.
LOOK FOR ME (Susp/Pol Proc-Det. Sgt. D.D. Warren -Boston-Contemp) – G+
Gardner, Lisa – 9th in seriesDutton – February 2018