I'm much happier to write this blog than I was the last one. Christine Ball, from Penguingroup, sent me two books to read. One is a Coben, which I will read next, and the other is the one I just finished. It's Lisa Gardner's latest (it just came out three days ago), Catch Me. This is Lisa's 14th book - and my first. Of course, I new that she wrote a lot, but I had never read her. Thanks to Christine, I'm now a fan.
Lisa's latest continues a series she writes about a Boston police department detective, D.D. Warren. Just like James Thompson's book, Helsinki White, you don't have to read the earlier books in order to enjoy the latest. In fact, it feels like a stand-alone. But never mind all of that stuff. This is a very good book. I have read (and do read) a number of female mystery writers:
Lisa is far better than O'Shaughnessy, Gran, Stevens, O'Keefe, and Kava (although Kava has written some good ones - just not recently). And I would say she's pretty comparable to Hoag, who is one of my favorite mystery writers, regardless of gender.
The plot is centered around a 28-year old woman who is expecting to be murdered on January 21, four days from when the story begins. Her two best friends have been murdered each of the past two years on January 21. They were the three musketeers, so she knows she's next. She has moved to Boston from New Hampshire to make it tougher for the murderer to find her and has spent the past year learning all manner of self-defense disciplines. But she still expects to be murdered on the 21st.
If this were the whole plot, it would be very interesting. But, in fact, there are all kinds of sub-plots - pedophilia, dysfunctional families (plural), vigilantism, abusive parents, and more. Lisa does a great job of integrating a lot of different themes into a cohesive story. At 380 pages, it's just the right length. I don't know if I'll be able to go back and read any of the 13 books she's already written (I'm very busy, you know!), but I will at least read all of her books moving forward. Very nice job! And thanks, Christine, for sending it to me. I always appreciate anyone who introduces me to a new author, especially if I actually like the book and the author.
Postcript to the Postcript: I enjoyed reading Lisa's Author's Note and Acknowledgements pages. She names a number of characters in the book based on contests that she has run. I think it is neat that she does that. I know that those people whose names were used must enjoy the heck out of seeing them in print. Who wouldn't like that? In fact, one of the names used is for a dog. This came out of a charity auction for Animal Rescue League of NH-North. Way cool - and I don't even like dogs!