Desert Isle Keeper
Love You More
In real life, strong women aren’t hard to find. I am surrounded by them. In books, they seem tough to locate. Many times verbosity seems to be confused with strength. TSTL is many a time described as “independent.” This is why a Lisa Gardner book is always such a treat for me. She nearly always writes strong, competent, intelligent women. This book contains two, one of whom would give Eve Dallas a run for her money – and then pass her.
Who do you love? Most of us could come up with dozens of names to answer that question. State trooper Tess Leoni can name just two: her daughter Sophi and husband Bryan. Then in one horrifying night her husband is killed and her daughter is declared missing.
D.D. Warren is an outstanding homicide cop. That’s why when she gets to a crime scene where a man is dead and the murder weapon is his wife’s state issued weapon, she can come pretty quickly to the conclusion of who shot whom. But she can also look deeper, ask the questions that take that easily accepted scene apart and find out which pieces don’t quite fit. Like why would Tessa Leoni kill her husband – even if he had beaten her and beaten her brutally – without finding out what he had done with their daughter first? This doesn’t add up for D.D., and along with the help of her partner Bobby Dodge, she plans to get to the bottom of this conundrum, no matter what the cost.
Thus begins a dance between two powerful women, both tough inside and out, capable of things that would most assuredly make the average gal flinch (and maybe retch.) Both dance to the beat of an imaginary clock, knowing that young Sophi, wherever she is, has only so much time before the trail goes cold.
This is loosely tied to Gardner’s Live to Tell, another novel starring detective Warren. I was really glad to find Gardner coming back to this character. D.D. is hard as nails on the outside, but has such a keen mind, such a fantastic way of getting to the heart of what is happening, that it is a joy to tag along with her on a case. She can be a bit abrasive to suspects and she is not the kind of touchy feely person who makes friends easily. But she is well linked into the police community and gets along easily with her coworkers.
Tessa is the truly incredible character, though. She’s a planner, plotter, kick-booty-take-no-prisoners heroine. A single mom with a pretty incredible past, she’s a fighter and survivor even before the night her life goes to hell. After that night, we learn that she is near limitless when it comes to doing what she must to make things right for those she loves. I was awed by her – Gardner has written strong women before but none this powerful. The amazing thing is that I liked Tessa even though she has a very, very dark streak.
The real star in any mystery though never appears on stage. An author of a suspense novel must keep the reader questioning and engaged throughout the whole thing. She must know just how much to feed the reader to keep them awed but also what to hold back to keep them guessing. She has to know how to deliver a payoff that makes all the nail biting worthwhile. Gardner is a master of her trade and writes a terrific tale of tension and terror. It is a truly wonderful, well-layered mystery that keeps you wondering till almost the end. I am happy to be able to recommend this novel to any who love a taut, edge of your seat thriller.