14 October 2010

Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner


Live to Tell
by Lisa Gardner
(Hardcover, pages 388)


At the heart of Gardner's outstanding fourth novel featuring Boston PD detective Warren are some very sick kids, notably Lucy, a nine-year-old feral girl who self-mutilates when any attention is given to her, and Evan, an eight-year-old boy who during fits threatens to kill his mother. D.D gets involved after two grisly family annihilations lead to the locked-down pediatric psych ward in Cambridge that specializes in Lucy's and Evan's types of hard case. When a child is too sick and the parent can no longer handle care, the child ends up in the acute care facility under the tutelage of pediatric psych nurse Danielle, the lone survivor of her own family bloodbath. Coincidence? That's for D.D. to figure out--in the midst of a budding romance with police academy professor Alex Wilson and infuriating encounters with Andrew Lightfoot, resident "woo-woo expert" (that's cop talk for psychic), who works in tandem with the hospital. Plenty of red herrings keep readers guessing, but Gardner always plays fair in this tight and consistently engaging page-turner.

Live to Tell is the first book by Lisa Gardner that I’ve read, and it will not be my last.  Live to Tell is the fourth novel to feature detective D.D. Warren.  It has several simultaneous stories, told from different perspectives and in different voices, which grabs you from the beginning and keeps you until the end.  At times it’s not an easy book to read, the descriptions of the murders are vivid and what the children go through is heartbreaking.  Reading about mentally disturbed/violent children who want to kill is not an easy subject to read about, but it made me realize what parents of these children go through.

I thought I had the killer figured out early on, but I have to say I was wrong.  I liked the fact that I was left second guessing myself throughout the book.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries.  

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