Flora Dane is a victim.
Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.
Flora Dane is a survivor.
Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.
Flora Dane is reckless.
. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her. (goodreads.com)
I’ve enjoyed all of Gardner’s books that I’ve read so far and FIND HER isn’t any exception. While it took me a little bit longer to get into than others I’ve read, once I settled into the plot it rocketed me from one end of the book to the other and I couldn’t put it down.
A good portion of the book is in Flora’s voice and to have it at the beginning, not having any idea who she was, it was a little hard to get through. She has a very distanced approach to life (for obvious reasons) and she came off really detached from the world (again, obvious reasons) and as a result I felt pushed away from the story. When DD starts coming in, and she’s a character I know and like, I start to get a little more settled in what’s going on. Add in the backstory that starts to get trickled throughout the book and I finally get into a Gardner groove and I’m in it till the end.
I really feel like these books are less about DD and more about the character of the moment, in this case Flora Dane. DD had her issues going on in the background, the restricted duty she was on, her home life, things like that. But they paled in comparison to Flora, who took over the page when she was there. Flora’s story was all-encompassing and engrossing and I found myself launching through those parts without her so I could get back to her and find out more. Yes, it’s DD’s job to find Flora, but it’s Flora’s story. Without a doubt.
I’m not sure what draws me to stories like this. My husband thinks I’m weird because I read these types of books (and watch SVU, in my defense that’s the ONLY cop procedural I watch), but I just can’t explain why I like them. I like the mystery aspect. I like getting dangled little bits of information piece by piece until they slowly start to form a whole. Maybe it’s because for a short period of time I wanted to be a detective. Maybe it’s a way for me to process these types of things in a safe environment. He thinks it’s weird that I enjoy watching man do their worst to each other. But only because it’s in a realistic setting. Meanwhile he watches The 100 and Defiance where all the same crap is happening to people, just in a different time or a different world. Does it really matter?
Gardner really capitalizes on blending the realistic with the astronomical with the gruesome and the compelling and weaves it all together into a story that sucks you in and doesn’t spit you back out until the very end. It’s never overly violent or gory, but she’ll tell you every aspect of the story necessary to make sure it’s complete. She does her research in regard to things like PTSD and survivor reactions and governmental involvement and things like that and it wraps up together into a setting that’s wholly believable and at the same time it’s almost unreachably fantastical for how incredible the story is. All the little pieces and all the little details work together to create something out of life and I can’t get enough of it.
FIND HER is an excellent addition to the Detective DD Warren series. Flora becomes a reachable entity that holds her nose to the page and won’t let you back up until her story’s done. She’s a fighter and a survivor and a victim and you watch her cope with all of these things from one end of the book to the other and she’s so amazing for it all. I just can’t get enough of Gardner’s writing.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.