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This was an absolutely amazing read and the suspense is brilliant. I'm actually excited to write this review and try and get other people to read it.
Melanie Stokes thinks she has everything she could ever have asked for. After being adopted aged 9 by Dr Harper Stokes (a leading cardiologist), her life turns into a fairytale. She has a loving mother, brother and godfather and a father who works all hours under the sun to provide for his family.
Melanie was not the Stokes' family's first daughter. Meagan Stokes was brutally killed and dismembered by Russell Lee Holmes when she was just 4 years old, as well as 6 other young children. At least, thats the story the newspapers printed, and the police believed.
Harper is apparently a very successful cardiologist who has made himself rich, but the police are suspicious. Just how has he made all this money? FBI Agent David Riggs is put undercover to monitor Harper, but the past starts rearing its ugly head, and before long a 25 year old homicide is put into question.
This doubt rises when Melanie receives a visit from a Texan reporter claiming that he has proof of who Melanie really is. She's intrigued. At aged 9, Melanie was found drugged and abandoned in a hospital unable to recall anything of her life up until that point. And 25 years later she is still none the wiser about her early years. The reporter claims that Melanie is the daughter of serial killer Russell Lee Holmes, and that Melanie's adoptive parents knew this. But, why would they willingly adopt the daughter of the man who killed their little Meagan? David Riggs tries to help Melanie remember her life before the Stokes', but maybe the past should stay in the past ...
All of Gardner's books that I have read so far tend to have nice short chapters, making it easier to finish a chapter before you call it a day and go to sleep. This would be great in a book that was mediocre, but the chapters keep floating by as I turned page after page after page!
The story does flick between all the main characters, but the switch is easily identified within a few sentences. Needless to say, the majorty of the chapters are written from Melanie's perspective, after all, she is the main character!
Where to begin? I have praised Lisa Gardner's work in previous reviews of her books, but this is my absolute favourite of hers, by far. From the minute I read the first word I knew this was going to be a book that makes me question every single character, and I did! Gardner couldn't possibly have created even more suspense without me going into shock overload! In fact, the only chapter where I had to stop guessing was the epilogue!
Even though the book is based around the murder of a 4 year old child, it was not too gruesome. It tells you a little about her body when it was found, but other than that the gore is left out of it. I prefer it this way. I would hate to read a book that is going on and on about a little girl who has been murdered. But it seems Gardner knew where to draw the line, and she did not pass it.
Like other Gardner books, I had it in my head that I knew who the culprit was, but then one tiny little sentence would put a halt to that thought, and then make me start suspecting another character. Then yet again, my thoughts would start reeling in another direction. I wanted to be smart and figure out how the book was going to end. So, either I'm not smart, or Gardner is a very, very talented author as I was in complete shock when the truth finally emerged. Or maybe its a bit of both ...
A very well-deserved 5 out of 5 dooyoo stars from me, and one I would recommend to anyone who would like a suspense novel that keeps you guessing from beginning to end.
In Texas, a man goes to the electric chair for the kidnap, torture and murder of six small children. In Boston, Massachusetts, a nine-year-old girl has been admitted to ER, unconscious and full of morphine. When she comes round, she remembers nothing about herself or her past. The girl is adopted and raised as Melanie by Dr Harper Stokes and his wife, whose own daughter Meagan was tragically murdered. Twenty years later, someone is targeting the family, sending grotesque messages and gifts. And in an even more horrible twist, a journalist approaches Melanie and tells her that her birth father was the executed murderer.