In her new novel, Lisa Gardner poses a most pertinent question:
What are you willing to do --- or, to put it another way, how far
are you willing to go --- to save someone you love? This has been
asked and answered before in literature and popular fiction, but
arguably never quite the way in which Gardner does.
LOVE YOU MORE is part of the D. D. Warren series, and
Warren, a sergeant-detective with the Boston Police Department, is
a primary figure throughout the book. She shares the narrative,
though, with a Massachusetts Highway Patrol officer named Tessa
Leoni. The storyline proceeds on twin, often parallel tracks, with
Warren's viewpoint relayed in the third person and Leoni's in the
Their paths intersect when Warren is called to the scene of a
homicide. Brian Darby has been shot to death by Leoni, his wife.
Leoni bears the marks of a savage beating, and Darby's killing
appears to have been out of self-defense. But that scenario begins
to collapse almost immediately. Sophie, Leoni's six-year-old
daughter, is missing from the house, and Leoni seems both unwilling
and unable to account for Sophie's whereabouts. While her injuries
are consistent with a beating, those who know Darby insist that he
was incapable of violence, let alone a series of deliberate acts of
abuse, against his wife.
Warren's major concern is the missing Sophie, who appears to
have vanished without a trace. When a number of major discoveries
seem to disprove Leoni's claim of self-defense, she is arrested and
incarcerated. Warren, who is convinced of Leoni's guilt, receives
some major and unsettling news of her own, which she does not have
the time or ability to deal with while she attempts to locate
Sophie. Things really explode, however, when Leoni offers to lead
Warren and the other investigators to a major clue in the
investigation. But rather than resolve the mysteries at hand, this
action sets off a series of explosive events that puts Leoni and
others in terrible danger, leading to a sequence of violent acts
that will ultimately answer the question hanging silently
throughout the book: How far would you go?
LOVE YOU MORE is ultimately more thriller than mystery, given
that the reader expects, almost from the beginning, that things are
not as they seem. Gardner also reveals the identity of the man
behind the curtain in an aside fairly early on in the book. The
primary questions then become the motivating "why" behind the
events that have taken place, not to mention the "how," whereby
everything --- or at least those things that can --- will be put
right. Gardner remains at the top of her game, tying up all loose
ends by the conclusion, which undoubtedly will resonate through
future books in the series. If Gardner is not on your "must-read"
list, she will be after you finish LOVE YOU MORE.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 28, 2011