Lisa Gardner is New York Times best selling author. It is often said that a writer should ‘write what they know’ and ‘write what interests them’. Lisa Gardner is no different. Her interest in criminality and police procedure has spawned a successful career that has spanned 30 countries, numerous awards and over 20 books.
Her books have gifted us many memories. Detective D.D. Warren and the FBI Profiler series are just two.
However, it is her latest character that has grabbed me. Lisa writes the character of Frankie Elkin. Frankie is middle aged. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic. What is most poignant about the way that Frankie is written and perceived by the reader, is that Frankie feels incredibly raw and real.
One Step Too Far is Lisa Gardners latest novel and continuation of the story of Frankie Elkin.
The writing of Lisa Gardner continues to excel. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s getting better and better. I have read absolutely all of Lisa’s work and this character, our Frankie, is by far my favourite. Why?
Frankie is the average woman but also she is unique. She’s damaged but she’s critical. She has high standards for her work. She is stubborn at times. She can be reserved. But when they are needed, those reservations part ways to reveal her underlying strengths. Her morals are high and she is so memorable on the pages. She’s an endearing character. She is raw. She is real.
There is an element of “Jack Reacher” in her. The compulsive need to help and do the right thing. Even if that does put her in danger. The ways that she is continually tested physically, mentally and emotionally. Does she bring that on herself? Does she look to test herself?
This book is a character driven thriller. We find out early on that we are looking for a young man who disappeared while hiking on his Batchelor party with friends. Unable to locate him over the years, his friends, driven by guilt and remorse, find themselves on a ‘last ditch’ attempt to bring their friend home to his dying mother. Frankie has joined the team that is out hunting for his remains. She is with the original Batchelor party friends as well as Tim’s father, seasoned hikers and a guide as well as a cadaver dog.
From the first night things go downhill and this is where Ms Gardner comes into her own. An incredible tale has been weaved. All members of the hiking search party have a story as of course does Frankie. They are all pulled together in a superb way by Ms Gardner. She uses her skills to introduce a little more of Frankie to us. We learn more than we knew from the previous book. We see Frankie’s skills used throughout the book to manage her own survival and that of those with her. One of Frankie’s skills is getting people to talk and we see this In abundance as she works her way through the team trying to put 2+2 together to get to the correct answer.
When I read a Lisa Gardner book, I always read the blurb and then scribble a note to myself. Like a little guess at what I think the outcome will be. Sometimes I’m right. This one…..good job Ms Gardner. I didn’t see that ending coming!