When You See Me is an outstanding crime detective story that assures Lisa Gardner as one of the best thriller writers of today. It has so many attributes from location, atmosphere and great characters to an intricate shocking plot that is compelling and keeps you guessing to the end.
It has been a long time since I read Lisa Gardner and I worried about reading her new book without some background to her previous books in the series. I have to say, in no way did I ever feel I had missed some history or background to make this story work. This is a unique novel that can be treated as a standalone.
Detective DD Warren, Special Security Agent Kimberly Qunicy and serial killer survivor Flora Dane are all fascinating characters, full of energy, depth, intrigue and resolve. While they appear in previous Lisa Gardner novels, there is a freshness to their role in this story. They have been called together as part of a task force to investigate the human remains of a young woman thought to be another victim of the serial killer, Jacob Ness. Flora was once a kidnapped prisoner of Ness for over a year, but she killed him as part of her escape to freedom. Flora is psychologically wounded as a consequence and undoubtedly struggles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt. It is fascinating to observe Flora as a very determined person, brave but introspective and places huge barriers against human relationships and a fear of vulnerability. Her good friend Keith may become more if she can overcome her resistance to trust and fight the images of horror she endured.
The task force investigation faces many complex situations in the little town of Niche, Georgia. A town that seems idyllic but gradually darker and darker secrets are revealed. To what extent are the people of Niche involved in the horror unfolding, as more and more women are found buried in the woods? An encounter with a young mute girl, terribly deformed from an accident and living with the mayor and his wife as their niece, brings about a personal mission from DD that she will protect her and get to the bottom of these deaths. The life of the young girl is heartbreaking and gives our sense of justice an adrenaline shot.
The story is told from the perspective of the four main women; Flora, DD, Kimberly and an unknown female. The mix of characters and how they interact with others is wonderfully told and it is absorbing how their dialogue and relationships keep this story full of surprises and fears. Some people are obviously involved behind the masks they present and the ring-leader is elusive and very difficult to guess. A superb psychological mystery that races at a mighty rate, right to the dramatic finale.
I feel remiss not to have read more of Lisa Gardner but this novel has reacquainted an old favourite and I’ll be looking for her other books shortly. I would highly recommend this book and author, and I would like to thank Century Books, Random House UK Cornerstone and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.