Lisa Gardner’s Find Her sits at #4 on the NYT Bestseller List as we speak. Honestly, that doesn’t always say a lot about a novel for me—how many times have we all followed the trend of hyped-up selling and packaging by big-name publishers only to be disappointed upon unwrapping? However, I feel confident in saying that that’s not the case with this one!
This work started off at a sprint. No, no feeling around for bearings on this one. Immediately, I was gripped and immersed, from page 1. The flashback effect worked here tremendously well. In fact, the flashback chapters were so wonderfully used that, in the end, they were not simply a prop for other chapters or fillers to increase word count. Those flashes back engaged the reader in an engrossing account of captivity and abduction and completely changed the dynamic of the novel. Gardner brought the feeling of terror and desperation to life in this work, no sugar coating—rather, any less coating and the Motion Picture Association would definitely have to up the rating on this one if movie rights are grabbed.
There are glimpses into the human psyche that both grip and examine how far the mind and body can go before they break and what it takes to get to that point. The voice is staccato, sharp, clear, which brings the dialogue to life. Sarcasm and stoicism are clearly separated in a way that shows her skill with crafting voices and characters. Don’t skim or you’ll miss something. The shift in tenses was done well, from first to second to third person and back again. It was transitional, never jolting, never removing me from the immersion in that world to have to figure out what was going on. Find Her is absolutely a page turner that left me nervous to go further in places. Will I read something here that will change me, that will take me further into the bounds of the human psyche than I’d anticipated? That was thrilling, those brushes against the edge, against the literary precipice.
This one is the 8th novel in the series, but a new reader wouldn’t miss a beat. The characters are wonderfully realized, and there are enough references to past D.D. exploits to fuel a new reader without making it less worthwhile to actually go back and read those past books.
*MINOR SPOILER ALERT* The ending, though, where revelations poured forth and convenient explanations were given—as frequently seen as the wrap-up method on hour-long TV—was formulaic enough to make me cringe a little, but what does one expect from chart-topping crime thrillers? If nothing else, the formula sells (to say nothing of whether it works). And there are plenty of readers out there who look for just that—that relatable blueprint —to guide them in their read or in the conclusion of it.
All in all, Gardner displayed a spell-bounding display of her craft here. Despite the formula that peeped around the edges in the end, the plotline was crafted with more twists than Twizzlers, and there were genuine moments where the heart raced, fingers poised to turn the page with urgency to get to the next curve, the next theory, the next revelation. Well done, absolutely. Do I recommend this read for crime buffs? Definitely. But if you’re like me, a reader resistant to bow-ties, you may want to take that into consideration first. 4 ½ stars ****