Flora Dane is a victim.
Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.
Flora Dane is a survivor.
Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.
Flora Dane is reckless.
. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.
Holy. Guacamole. I’ve struggled to find words to explain how much I loved this book because it honestly blew me away. I’m on a total mystery/thriller/suspense kick right now and I have been reading some really good books, but this one kicked it up a notch. Gardner honestly had my heart racing through several scenes, causing me to take a few breathers in order to regain my footing.
So what makes this book so great? Flora. She was kidnapped years ago, prior to the current storyline (and it was pretty freaking brutal), and then she disappears again. Did she run? Was she kidnapped again? Where the hell is Flora?! And what’s with the wall of missing girls and young women? Is she the criminal? A repeat victim? And that’s just the beginning. I won’t go into much more detail because it would require me to give away some major plot points (and it’s a lot more fun to read this type of book without too much information), but I will say that the questions never stop and the twists keep coming. Gardner has done an amazing job of giving you just enough line to think you’ve figured it out and then she yanks you back in with another twist you didn’t see coming. She also alternates the chapters between then, flashing back to Flora’s abduction, allowing the reader to live through some of that with her, and now, trying to solve the mystery of the dead man and Flora’s latest disappearance. She keeps the story moving at a steady pace so you never get bored. Overall, the characterization and plot will definitely be the pulls for readers. There is some technical lingo included in the story (you can’t have an FBI story without it), but it’s all explained so you won’t find yourself getting lost in the terminology. You might learn something new, though.
Oh, and apparently this is the 8th book in the series, but I didn’t know that going into it. I did absolutely no research into the story other than reading the synopsis and then I jumped in, feet first. (In fact, this was the first book I’ve read by Gardner.) I didn’t feel lost or as though I’d missed anything, but I can tell you this: I’ll be going back and reading the rest of the series lickety-split! (And I have a new favorite author.)
Happy reading, booknerds! ~Amber