Sunday, 25 January 2015

Review: Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner

**** 4 Stars

Lisa Gardner is one of my favourite crime authors & I always look forward to reading any new book by her. Crash & Burn is book 3 in the Tessa Leoni series. I was really pleased to be approved by Headline on Netgalley so I could read Crash & Burn early. 

Out 3rd February 2015

The Blurb

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t. 

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist. 

Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says.

My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t.

Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead.

This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

My Thoughts

Whilst part of a series this book is billed as a standalone & having read the other books in the series I feel people would have no problem starting with this book. In fact whilst book 3 in the Tessa Leoni series we don't actually see a huge amount of her. 

The books blurb makes it sound like an exciting read, full of unanswered questions & full of the great plot twists that I have become used to from Lisa Gardner. Crash & Burn starts well with the opening line 'I died once& we are immediately introduced to Nicky Frank as her SUV crashes into a ravine. 

Nicky who has suffered two concussions in the last 6 months is thrown into total confusion as she pulls herself from the wreckage frantically looking for a little girl named Vero. What follows is a fruitless search for a missing child but when Nicky's husband turns up it becomes apparent that there is perhaps no child. Thomas Franks informs Sergeant Wyatt Foster that this is his wife's 3rd accident in recent months and the first two have left her with severe trauma. 

Wyatt is determined to find out what caused Nicky to run off the road last night- was it an accident or does someone want Nicole Frank dead? As he begins to dig deeper he begins to uncover secrets that had long been buried. He calls upon his girlfriend Tessa Leoni(whose security firm had previously been in contact with Nicky) to help him find out Nicky's true identity & just why have Nicky & Thomas been travelling from state to state, city to city never staying in one place for more than two years.

After such a powerful opening chapter I must confess I was a little bit disappointed with the slow pace that followed. It didn't feel like I was reading a Lisa Gardner book & at times I found myself confused by the plot. However at some point which I can't put my finger on everything changed the twists began to come & the pace picked right up. After finishing the book I actually wondered if the slow & confusing start had been intentional by the author so that you felt somewhat connected to Nicky's plight.  

The relationship between Nicky & her husband Thomas is well written & really adds to the atmosphere and the plot twists in the book. You end up not knowing who are the good guys and who are the bad - why is Nicky so confused about her feelings for her husband? 

I love him. I fear him. I need him. I resent him. I pull him close. I push him away. 
This book is very different from Gardner's normal type of story which tend to be more police procedural based especially the D.D Warren series which I love. Incidentally D.D Warren makes a small cameo appearance in this book which leaves us wondering where Gardner is going to take her story next. This book places much more focus on Nicole Frank & her mysterious past.

Overall I enjoyed the book despite it getting off to a rocky start, it is just the type of dark psychological thriller that I love with plenty of twists & turns. It is a very complex mystery of a woman who can't remember her past but as her memory starts to return we are hurtled head-on into a final showdown.

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