A lot of authors that I have read, tend to have a signature pattern to their plot line. The main underlying plot remains the same in most of their books. It’s only the characters, the circumstances and the location that changes. After reading 4 or 5 of their books, then it becomes quite easy to predict how any of their other book’s plot will progress. This is something I have noticed with even the most acclaimed writers. And so, even though I would have loved their books initially; once I figure out this pattern then their books no longer hold the thrill of reading a new book.
The reason I’m saying all this is because Lisa Gardner has managed to surprise me each time. This was my 4th book and I’m yet to see any kind of pattern. She is truly full of surprises.
Flora Dane is kidnapped and held for 472 days. She is locked inside a pine coffin box most of the days. After being rescued, she spends her time trying to get back to normal life. Though nothing is normal anymore. Five years down the lane, when D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime where the perpetrator is dead by the hands of the victim, D. D. learns that the victim is Flora Dane. D. D. also discovers that Flora has been playing vigilante trying to find out information on other missing girls. But then the very next day, Flora disappears without a trace.
Gardner’s dedication reads “For Survivors everywhere”. Now that’s a powerful line. The book had me in its grip right from the first chapter. The narrative takes us through 2 different timelines. One is Flora’s experiences when she was kidnapped the first time. And the other is the current timeline where D. D. is trying to find Flora when she is kidnapped again.
The details of what Flora went through during the 472 days in captivity is what stands out in the book. Gardner has vividly portrayed Flora’s ordeal. It was so real to me and emotionally draining at times. Even though I was sitting on my couch, I could feel the claustrophobia of being locked inside a pine coffin box.
The other highlight of the book was how Flora’s relationship with her kidnapper Jacob Ness changes. The change happens so gradually and subtly that we don’t even realizes it until Flora starts getting jealous of Jacob liking other girls. Truly commendable writing from Gardner.
The trauma of being kidnapped and held captive does not end when Flora is rescued. And survivor’s guilt is real. Flora is filled with it.
This book was such an emotional roller coaster ride for me. I really can’t wait to read more of Gardner’s books. Even though the book is part of a series, it can definitely be read as a standalone.
If you have not read a Gardner book till now, I suggest you to change that right now. You will definitely love it.
My Rating: 5⭐.