Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
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.
Flora Dane is a bad ass. Deeply flawed and scarred but a serious bad ass. Held prisoner, abused, and raped for over a year, she's made a new life. She's not happy, and she can never be young, carefree, and trusting like she was before her kidnapping, but she's pieced together a life. That life, imperfect though it is, comes to a screeching halt when she comes to the attention of the Boston Police after an evening out doesn't quite go as planned. The first chapter to this book grabbed me and didn't let me go. Chilling, thrilling, and twisty, it sucked me in and kept flipping the screen on my Kindle.
I haven't read many stories by Gardner but the last few I've read have been intense, action packed, exquisitely plotted, and with characters who are solidly real and fleshed out. Flora isn't always likeable or relatable but I put that down to what she's been through. She's detached from people, deeply mistrustful, and cautious to the point of paranoia. She's also smart, clever, and sneaky.
Detective Warren is back at work after being injured; she's supposed to be on desk duty but is having trouble with that. It was a bit awkward jumping in mid-series and it took me a while to warm up to her. In her own way, she's mistrustful of people and she's deeply suspicious of Flora when they first meet. But she's not lacking in empathy and she's a determined and thorough investigator. I enjoyed her interactions with her team and with her family.
It's hard to talk about the plot or story without going into spoiler territory, but the story was full of surprises, as was Flora. My heart broke for her repeatedly, both the past Flora and the present day Flora. Gardner moves smoothly between the past and the present, gradually building the story, layer by layer, the past laying the groundwork for the present. Flora's past is never really gone or forgotten but even she didn't expect the tentacles that reached out and poked their way into her life. While Gardner is full of surprises, she does gives us clues and hints, most of which I was slow to pick up on but a few I guessed. The ending is, pardon the cliche, nail-biting. Tired though I was, I had to see how it played out and if my guesses were right,