MYSTERY

Before She Disappeared

Dutton. Jan. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781524745042. $27. THRILLER
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It’s been a while since Gardner (When You See Me) wrote a stand-alone; this one is well worth the wait. Readers will fall in love with her protagonist, Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic lost soul who keeps sober by running from her past and roaming from city to city seeking cold-case missing people that law enforcement has given up on. After 14 cases, she’s hoping to finally rescue her first living victim, Angelique Badeau, a local Haitian high school girl who went missing without a trace several months ago. As Frankie works this puzzling case, readers will have to pay close attention to the subtle carrots Gardner dangles in front of them. It’s a wild ride through Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood; a mix of real and imagined dangerous streets where her local characters perfectly reflect the rich mix of island cultures there.
VERDICT Fans of this incredible author, police procedurals, timely immigrant stories, strong determined women, and tales that are not tied up with a pretty bow at the end will not be able to get enough of this intense page-turner.

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