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ARC Review: Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
Before She Disappeared
Book Info

Released: January 19th 2021
Genre: Thriller

“This is an amazing book.”

~ Under the Covers

Recommended Read!

There are two things you need to know about Frankie Elkins. One, she’s a recovering alcoholic. Two, she looks for the missing that everyone else has stopped searching for; if they even bothered to look in the first place. Her new case brings her to the Haitian community in Boston where teenager Angelique Badeau has gone missing. The more she digs around the more she realises that nothing is quite as it seems and if she isn’t careful she’s likely to be the next victim.

This book made me cry. To put that in perspective, it’s not exactly rare for me to cry reading a book, but it isn’t common either. I wasn’t quite sure what it is that got my waterworks going, was it the bleakness of Frankie’s life? She searches for the missing with a reckless disregard for her own life as she doesn’t place much value on her continued existence. Even when she finds the missing, which, in of itself is fairly tragic as she has yet to find any of the missing alive, there isn’t much satisfaction as she relentlessly pushes herself to the next missing person and the next. Or maybe it was Angelique’s story, which I won’t go into as…spoilers…

But, I don’t want to give the wrong impression, this book wasn’t a constant bombardment of sadness and pain. Frankie was a fascinating character, a white middle aged woman who wanders the U.S. searching for missing people. She isn’t affiliated with the police or any organisation. On a personal level she has no friends or family. She’s just a smart woman who isn’t afraid to ask questions. She also picks the cases of people the police dismiss, which more often than not is that of woman and teenagers in poor and Black and Native American communities.

The thriller and mystery elements of this book were great, the story slowly unveils as Frankie starts poking her nose in, but, it still hadn’t guessed everything until it was actually revealed. Any thriller that can keep me guessing that long is a gem. Gardener has crafted a smart, but action packed and exciting thriller that will keep you turning the pages.

This is an amazing book. The thriller elements were perfect, but what has really made this stand up from the rest was the masterful way Gardner built her characters, especially Frankie. I don’t know if Gardner is going to leave this as just this book, but I really hope not, I want more Frankie Elkin books in the future. The romance reader in me is desperate for her to find some kind of happiness and peace in some way and I would love to see that gradually materialise in future books.

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