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Sunday 18 March 2018

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner

This was a book that ticked a lot of boxes: a well-executed crime thriller that commits you right from the word ‘go’. Ninth in a series featuring Detective D D Warren, I worried I might have missed some crucial forerunning elements to give a full picture of any recurring characters, but it was a perfect stand-alone novel. Despite the fact that I guessed ‘whodunnit’ at about 75%, there were enough red herrings thereafter to keep me on my toes and the unravelling was very compelling. 

Five dead family members and one missing teenager, Roxanna: Detective Warren has to determine whether or not she (along with the family’s pet dogs) was fortunate enough to have avoided the same fate or if she was the orchestrator of the massacre. The search for the truth uncovers some unpleasant history in the lives of Roxanna and her pretty thirteen-year-old sister, Lola, one of the victims. Aided by Flora, herself a survivor of a heinous crime, piece by piece, racing against the clock, they peel away the layers of heartache to get to the truth. 

As I said…a lot of boxes were ticked. But a few had to be unchecked. Sloppy editing…missing words and word-endings, some very poor grammar (how does a 'best-selling author' not know the difference between there’s and there are???), some rogue apostrophes, Roxanna’s name misspelt, and alas, some head-hopping. Not sure who to blame here: the author for trusting her editor or the editor for lack of attention to detail. This in addition to some almost illegible  feint text in Roxanna’s autobiographical chapters. I was also slightly bemused by one of the character’s names: Anya Seton. Perhaps Gardner is a fan of this historical-fiction author. 

However, it was a cracking read, well plotted and structured. It was on point, well observed and researched. I particularly liked the relationship between Warren and Flora: their exchanges were sharp, witty and sometimes funny. I shall certainly hunt for other books in the series and indeed other novels by the author.

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