Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
Before She Disappeared is Lisa Gardner’s first standalone novel in twenty years. (!!!) Readers new to her work will find this an easy book to jump into, while still holding the feel of a classic Gardner read for those long-term fans too.
About the book:
(From the publisher) Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.
A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.
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This novel may be a standalone, but I would definitely be okay seeing this character again.
Frankie is a middle-aged, recovering alcoholic who just so happens to be really good at getting people to talk and open up about secrets. Which comes in handy when you’re searching for missing people. Flawed and gritty, Frankie is a fighter with intuition, a lot of guts, and a painful past. This was a really intriguing character with some fun dialogue.
Per Gardner’s usual, this book is full of suspense and twists. While the beginning of this story felt slower, I appreciated how the pacing built throughout. The writing was descriptive, the plot unique, and I enjoyed puzzling out the truth behind Angelique’s disappearance along with the characters.
One of my critiques — the cover didn’t seem to accurately reflect the story. Not a big deal but something to consider for those who pick books based on their covers!
I also really appreciated the author’s note at the back, which shares Gardner’s inspiration behind the book — a BBC article about Lissa Yellowbird-Chase, an everyday person who searches for missing persons. There are a lot of forgotten people out there and this book served as a great reminder that we need to do better at fighting for them.
4 stars for this one!
Before She Disappeared is available January 19, 2021.