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Look for Me

Review

Look for Me

LOOK FOR ME is the ninth installment in Lisa Gardner’s D. D. Warren series and the second to feature vigilante Flora Dane, who has become a sort of sidekick to fan favorite D. D. This latest book finds the two working side by side --- and butting heads --- as they track down a vicious killer and a teenage girl who is straddling the line between dangerous and in danger.

Much like FIND HER, the previous book in the series, LOOK FOR ME begins in the middle of a brutal crime scene that leaves only one survivor. Gardner instantly grabs the reader’s attention as she exposes the sick limits of the human mind and what a single body can endure. Of course, survival is a common theme in this series, and LOOK FOR ME is no exception.

After this haunting prologue, we reunite with Detective D. D. Warren, who continues to balance motherhood and police work. D. D. is just about to pick out a dog with her five-year-old son and husband when she receives a distressing call. She soon arrives at a horrific murder scene where it appears that an entire family has been gunned down, including two young children. An initial search makes it clear that there is an older daughter, Roxanna, who has gone missing, and D. D. is quick to put out an Amber Alert, but the nagging question remains: Was the daughter simply out at the time, or is she somehow connected to the murders?

"Gardner has clearly researched not only police procedurals, but psychology and most likely the stories of real-life victims as well. Combining all three elements is not easy, but Gardner does so seamlessly, adding heartfelt characters, delicious tension and perfect plotting to boot."

In alternating chapters, we revisit Flora Dane, who has taken Sarah, the victim from the prologue, under her wing. When we first met Flora in FIND HER, she was cold, calculating and nearly obsessive in her desire to track down other men like the one who held her hostage and tortured her for 472 days. Gardner has made it clear that she will never quite shed the weight of that trauma, but in LOOK FOR ME, she is using her skills to help other victims learn how to live. She has created a group forum where survivors can talk about their feelings with one another and discuss tactics for feeling safe again. Sarah is one of her favorite members, as she is a fast learner who, unlike Flora, wants to truly live again. Sarah has even led a new member to the group: Roxanna Baez, a teenage girl who is clearly terrified of someone or something.

Flora and D. D. reunite at the scene of the crime and soon realize that they are both looking for the same girl. There is still no love lost between the two, as D. D. is uncomfortable with Flora’s recklessness and Flora is annoyed by D. D.’s adherence to rules and protocol. Still, it is obvious that they are both skilled investigators, and with Roxanna still missing, they will have to work together. D. D. takes Flora on as a criminal informant, a title that comes with no perks, but keeps her under D. D.’s watchful eye. She realizes that Flora will be much more approachable with teens, foster children and gang members than a policewoman.

The case of the murders of the Baez family and Roxanna’s subsequent disappearance is not an easy one. With multiple loose ends, two more shootings and a history that reaches back five years (a long time, for a teenager), D. D. and Flora definitely have their hands full. As the two chronicle the lives of Roxanna and their siblings, Gardner alternates chapters with a series of essays Roxanna wrote on the “perfect family.” We learn the facts first through Roxanna, but it is through the eyewitness accounts provided through D.D. and Flora that the horrors of Roxanna’s young life become clear. Gardner does not dabble in the practice of lighthearted reads, but she writes with a shocking immediacy that will keep you reading. She has a compassion that shines through even her most brutal scenes, and she balances this warmth with cold, hard facts better than any thriller writer I have ever read before.

Roxanna makes for an interesting victim, as she ties in the elements of alcoholism, foster care, abuse, assault, gang violence and, of course, murder. But what is even more interesting is the ways in which D. D. and Flora approach her case. Their relationship in FIND HER was rocky, but in LOOK FOR ME they have found common ground, and it is really fascinating to watch them learn from one another. D. D. may know the right words, phrases and tactics for investigation, but it is Flora who has actually lived through them. Gardner has clearly researched not only police procedurals, but psychology and most likely the stories of real-life victims as well. Combining all three elements is not easy, but Gardner does so seamlessly, adding heartfelt characters, delicious tension and perfect plotting to boot.

So where is Roxanna Baez, and who murdered her family? You’ll have to pick up LOOK FOR ME to find out, but be sure to clear your schedule. This is one book you will tear through in a night or two, and when you finish, you will be eagerly awaiting the next D. D. Warren novel --- and hoping for another appearance from Flora Dane as well.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on February 9, 2018

Look for Me
by Lisa Gardner

  • Publication Date: February 6, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton
  • ISBN-10: 1524742058
  • ISBN-13: 9781524742058