Publisher: Bantam Books
Date published: June 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Angie
Book Purchased by Reviewer
Jason Jones met his wife Sandra when she was just eighteen and pregnant. He fell instantly in love, married her and took her away from her old life. She never admitted all of her demons and reasons for running, but neither did he. They both left Georgia under aliases and found a new life together. As a sixth grade teacher she was respected and well liked. He was the perfect husband in the eyes of their neighbors. They raised "their" daughter quietly and alone. While none had close friends, neither did they have enemies.
When Sandy goes missing, Jason is the primary suspect. As time goes on, more and more suspects murky the waters leaving police confused and baffled. What reasonable loving mom leaves her four year old alone in the middle of the night, yet no one seems guilty enough - or innocent enough to make sense as her abductor. The longer Sandy is gone the more people from her past and present muddy the waters, leaving the detectives baffled.
Lisa Gardner is one of my all time favorite authors. As always she has left me breathless with need to know right up until the very last pages. Her lead detective in this case is Detective Sergeant D.D. Warren, who has been featured before. This woman is a character I would love to meet. Her style of investigating is top notch, and her love for her ex-partner shines through. While she stands back and does not take over as a main character in this novel, she makes me want to read a love story about her!
The main characters in this novel, Jason and Sandy Jones come off the pages and into your heart. From the beginning you want Jason to be innocent, yet cannot deem anyone else guilty - making for a plot worth reading. Four year old Clarissa "Ree" Jones is as cute as they come. Ms. Gardner paints her pictures with words so well you can see her impish grin as she sits in a hotel room decorating her room with her Barbies. This family starts out a picture perfect family and as you get into the depths of their lives, you are drawn yet more into a story of heartbreaking drama.
The one down fall to this novel was the ending. Simply put, it ended. Ethan Hastings simply reappears, found safe and sound (not a bad thing!) but I felt lost that we never got a dramatic scene reuniting him with his parents. This one downfall did NOT degrade from this novel, smooth writing, great characters and drama make this a stellar novel worth reading over and over. This is a keeper on my shelf alongside each of Lisa Gardener's novels.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.