It’s been too long between books for me to remember all of Lisa Gardner’s regular characters. While DD Warren is etched into my brain, PI Tessa Leoni and her newish paramour Sergeant Wyatt Foster weren’t really terribly familiar. Which wasn’t a problem as Gardner does an excellent job of subtly including context which gives us enough back story without making any previous novels redundant. (Regular readers of my reviews will know this is my pet hate!)
However, regular characters aside, we readers spend the majority of this thriller in the head of Nicole Frank – who we meet as she lurches into consciousness having crashed her car into a ravine. When she claws her way out of the car and up onto the nearby road she tells a passerby that she must find Vero. “Vero’s only a child,” she says. She must save her.
The police can’t find any sign of a daughter or child who may have escaped the accident and understandably become frustrated when Nicky’s husband Thomas tells them there’s no such person. And Wyatt’s spidey-senses tingle when he discovers this is Nicky’s third serious head injury in the last few months, making her memories mixed and murky.
Is Nicky a victim or the perpetrator of a crime?
Did Thomas ’cause’ his wife’s accidents?
Is, or was, there any such person as Vero?
And if so… where is she now?
One thing Wyatt knows for sure, is that Nicky and Thomas have their secrets and Thomas seems worried that Nicky will inadvertently share them.
Crash & Burn started a little slowly for me. And unfortunately I found myself (typically) jumping to conclusions as to what had happened or was happening. I sighed in some metaphorical way.
“How predictable,” I thought.
And – of course – I was COMPLETELY wrong.
Thank god. Suddenly half way through the novel there’s a twist and it wasn’t the one I was expecting. Or was it? A bit? I don’t know but I started desperately turning the pages, eager to unravel the many mysteries before me.
Obviously Gardner does a great job at unfurling one ‘reveal’ after another. We readers have no choice but to play along and follow Nicky, Wyatt and Tessa as they try to uncover Nicky’s secrets.
An injured DD Warren makes a cameo appearance – well, she would if this was a movie or TV show – but she pops up nonetheless. For me this was unnecessary, particularly if Gardner is trying to offer readers some familiarity, because the novel zips along fine without her.
There’s a lot at play in Crash & Burn and it won’t disappoint as it’s an excellent and addictive read.
Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner is published in Australia via Hachette and available from 10 February 2015.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.