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==Synopsis of the book:==
Boston Detective D.D.Warren and partner Bobby Dodge are called to a domestic incident involving one of their own. Trooper Tessa Leoni is found dazed and battered in her kitchen with her husband Brian dead. He has been shot three times with Tessa gun and she quickly admits she has killed him. She advises them it is self defence and it looks very much as if the dead man has been beating his wife in a domestic argument that has spiralled out of control. The huge problem the Police have is their six year old daughter Sophie is missing.
However DD and Bobby quickly realise things are not as simple and straight forward as they seem. And investigation into Trooper Leoni quickly revels this is not the first time she has killed someone. When she was sixteen she killed her best friends brother who was trying to rape her. She was never charged for this when other women came forward admitting that he had attacked and raped them too. As soon as she is fit for questioning in the hospital the two Detectives will have questions that need answering and with no sign of her missing daughter time is running out to find her alive.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
I thought this was a very good Detective thriller that I really enjoyed. It certainly took me but surprise because initially I found it a bit slow and couldn't see where it was going. I have read several of the books in this series and so far I have enjoyed them all. They are well thought out and I felt the story had everything in it together with being excellently written. What really impressed me with this story was very wonderful mystery and suspense throughout the story and surprised and impressed me more and more the further I read into the story.
Thus far there are six books in this very popular series. This is the fifth of these and it was first published in 2011. They are all written by American author Lisa Gardner who has already in her short career notched up 18 novels. A talented writer she had her first novel published when she was just 20 years old. One of the biggest challenges I find about these books are trying to relate to the different culture as they are set in America. As I do not usually like American writers I find the gulf too wide between they way they live their lives and how we live ours, but with this authors excellent stories I have been able to overcome this, but it is still in the background.
Over the past few months I have read several books within this excellent series. So when I saw this book at my local charity shop I knew I must purchase it. I was impressed with the title to begin with, I thought it sounded interesting and I wondered what the author had in store for us. Above the were there, a few words advising the husband is dead, the daughter missing and asking what would you do? This intrigued me and so I immediately turned it over to see the summary.
Having now read and enjoyed the story I think the author gave much to much away in this. It was basically three short paragraphs long but for me a summary should not include anything beyond page 30 of the story. It is supposed to entice readers to purchase the book, but I thought the author just gave too much away. I will say no more than that and I did not think by giving that much away the summary was any better, I would have preferred less and find out more as the story unfolded.
The story started appropriately with a prologue. This was only two pages long but it was a very spooky start. It dealt with the moments before a shooting. It certainly had me interested to know the background to the incident as the author quite rightly here gave nothing away. All you knew as no names bar a child were mentioned was this was a family scene and they loved each other despite what was happening.
The first chapter followed this and I found it initially difficult to get into. I think it was getting use to the very different American culture again. Added to this I did not think the crime scene that the Detectives faced was very interesting. This slow start continued and I could not see where a story was coming from as it all appeared to be quite straight forward and dull. I started to doubt this author and thought she might have written a disappointing story for a change and even wondered if I was better off giving it up as a bad job.
Luckily for me I stuck with it though. As it certainly did get better and better. There was far more happening and the pace of the story increased. What impressed me was the unexpected twists the story took. The author did not only write the story from the two detectives viewpoint she also told it from Trooper Tessa Leoni's perspective. This added an exciting dimension to the story as she was a very strong character who had an agenda that took a while to understand. Especially as the author only gave away what had happened when her husband was shot as the story unfolded.
The story for me just got better and more exciting. I found I wanted the truth as the Detectives did but I was somehow afraid of it. For me the story had everything together with a very exciting nerve jangling conclusion to it. It was the type of ending that I always crave for, exciting with so many possibilities as to what will happen. Added to which it was not rushed so the quality of descriptions where maintained and I thought it was outstanding. It certainly more than made up for my earlier scepticism.
What Lisa Gardner does amazing well is get into the mind of the leading characters in the story. In this story it was Trooper Tessa who I initially found difficult to understand, like and relate to. However as the story unfolded and I could see what she was doing and why I found her more understandable and I really admired and supported her. She was a lady with a past and who had battled back from the brink to become a Trooper and a mother. For me she was a excellent character because she was very smart and I really liked learning about her life.
Added to this the two characters that appear in all these stories in this series. That is D.D. Warren and Bobby Dodge. Over the series we have got to know more about these talented Detectives. I really enjoy the way these two interact and how they have a very love hate relationship at times. I like also the snippets of information the author shares with the reader about their private lives. In this story it focused on D.D, and I liked the new challenges the author brought into her life and how she was seeing and dealing with it.
This turned out for me to be an outstanding story and one I enjoyed the deeper I got into it. The stories length was just right to tell a complex but well thought out story. I was so involved in it I would have liked a longer ending. That is not to say everything was not answered and I understood everything. I would just have liked a longer more detailed answers to what happened afterwards. As the author never mentioned the two Detectives and it left one important question unresolved. But I am sure this will be addressed in the next story in the series.
For me this was once again a first class Detective story and one I would certainly recommend.
Yes it was a little slow to start with but the longer it went on the better it become. The story was superbly thought out and had mystery and suspense throughout. With a wonderful conclusion that was full of exciting and action. I look forward to the next instalment in this excellent, well written series.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
© CPTDANIELS May 2013.
I've read and reviewed a few Lisa Gardner books now and get geekily excited when I see a one I haven't read in the library or a new release in stores. I came across this and new I wouldn't be disappointed. Love You More is another example of great writing with a strong thriller backbone to support it.
On the cover we're told that this is a 'Sunday Times Bestseller', along with a quote from Tess Gerritsen, another author I enjoy: "A heart-pounding tale... I could not tear myself away", just to tempt us. The tag line is 'Who Do You Love?', a question that becomes clear as you read the novel. We are introduced to Tessa Leoni, a state police trooper married to a marine, Brian Darby. The two live with their little girl, 6 year old Sophie, in a cosy family home. All seems peachy, except for the scene that's inflicted upon us early on; Brian dead, Tessa holding the gun, and little Sophie no where to be found. It looks like self-defence on Tessa's part though it's rather strange she went for a kill shot when she had other weapons at her disposal that would have rendered him injured rather than dead. Detective D.D Warren and Bobby Dodge are on the case, and unfortunately for Tessa, Warren is sceptical of her from the get go.
The homicide investigation continues but as it does, time ticks by for the search and rescue of the daughter, who may have either run away from the scene in fear, been hidden alive for some reason, or simply killed and hidden presumably by the mother or father. There aren't many clues to go on at this point and with Tessa in shock, she's not much use to the investigative team. Slowly, new information trickles in and lab results start to come in. The homicide suddenly gets far more complex and it's clear that Tessa isn't quite what she seems, but maybe not in the way that Detective Warren had expected.
I won't say any more on the premise but the book then goes through why the marine husband was killed, who exactly Tessa and Brian were and how their relationship was, what happened to little Sophie, and what the family were tangled up in. It was a detailed premise with twists and turns that weren't visible from the start. I couldn't have guessed the ending, which is always a good thing because the atmosphere and story was built up enough to keep me hooked and wanting to know what happened next. I wouldn't say it was overly complex, even quite a few characters were spun in the web and events were put together in a piecemeal fashion.
What I really enjoyed about this was the way in which the story was told because it wasn't your usual format. We're given snippets from Tessa Leoni and then it cuts back to the investigation and back again. It also goes from tales of the Leoni's past, to bits of what happened on the night of the murder, to the present, and each time we get to see a different angle and gleam a little bit more information. This way the story in created in a piecemeal fashion, bit by bit, so we're not quite sure what happened. The way this was done meant that I wasn't able to guess or figure things out early on, so I was kept hooked on reading, wanting to know more and the tension of the unknown was kept until the end.
Gardner has a fantastic way of writing that is very easy to read. It's fluid and warm, drawing you in and bringing to life the characters and scenes so that they're visible in your mind. I was familiar with Warren and Dodge from previous novels, which was an added bonus for me, but even if you don't have experience of Gardner's characters then this is still a standalone novel. It merely adds to the enjoyment when you can read about much loved characters and follow them on their own journeys across novels.
I found this book to be intellectually stimulating, gripping to read and a little different because of the angles given. As far as crime thrillers go, this gives us the warmth and depth of characters, as well as the more technical aspects as we learn of the crime scene reports and results, plus the detective elements as characters and motives come together. I liked that things weren't too cliché either; characters can and were wrong in their theorizing, things didn't happen instantly, and nothing was clear-cut. It made it more down to earth and realistic, and thus more believable to read and want to keep reading right through until the end.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this. It's a novel to get your teeth in to for crime thriller fans, and one that shouldn't disappoint Gardner fans either.
45 chapters over 351 pages (hardback)
Paperback selling for £3.86 (Amazon)