From the BLURB:
Danielle often thinks about that night when her childhood her ended. The sound of her father shooting her mother and then hunting down her brother, as she cowered under her duvet, trying to drown out the sound. She can remember the sound her brother made as he was killed. And she can remember her father standing in the doorway of her bedroom, saying 'I'm sorry, Danielle...' before he turned the gun on himself. Haunting enough for any child, but Danielle has always wondered, why not her too? Why did her father let her go? Years later, Danielle is working in a hospital that deals with the most violent and damaged of children. And someone there knows something about her past and is prepared to kill to keep it quiet...
This is the fourth book in Lisa Gardner’s Detective D.D. Warren series.
D.D. Warren is a thirty-eight year old woman, and head of a three-person homicide squad unit in the Boston police department.
The catalyst for this whodunit thriller is rather tragic and all-too believable in today’s GFC (great financial crisis) climate. A family man who could no longer bear the weight of financial ruin performs a murder-suicide. The case is sad and horrific, but not exceptional until a second family dies in the same manner the following night. D.D. Warren’s instincts are pricked, and she starts making connections between the families – leading her to a psych unit for troubled children.
I haven’t read any of Gardner’s books before, but Karin Slaughter has an endorsement quote on the cover and that’s good enough for me.
Though this is the fourth book in the series, I was never too lost reading it as a stand-alone. Mostly because D.D. Warren shares the narrative with two character’s who are not series’ regulars. Danielle (great name!) is a caregiver at the children’s psych ward, and amidst the heinous murders she is coping with memories of her disturbing childhood. Then there’s Victoria, a mother of one of the ‘troubled’ children. The three narratives start out quite disjointed, but as the pace quickens and story tightens the three coalesce for a grand finale.
The subject matter of violent children is disturbing, but Gardner’s writing is a twisted delight. She lures you in, tightens her hold and never lets you go until the very last page. No matter how disconcerting the story, you simply cannot put the book down.
I especially liked this book because I was in the dark for most of it... but I was never frustrated by Gardner’s curve-balls or the plot’s surprising trajectory. There are supernatural elements in the story that put a thrilling spin on things – and it was those elements that really kept me on my toes and threw me for a loop.
“A kid in such an elevated rage-state is having an out-of-body experience. You can’t reach them with words, with love, with logic. They’re gone, in orbit. Afterward, they’ll remember almost nothing of what they said or did, including that they bashed the brains out of the family dog, or tore apart their own favourite teddy bear. Hiding is the best policy. And in the aftermath, the entire family needs post-traumatic stress counselling, especially the siblings.”I think I will go back and read this series from the first. I liked Gardner’s style of writing a main protagonist’s narrative alongside the characters of her current investigation. I am especially intrigued by the series because of a potential love interest for D.D. in Professor/Detective Alex Wilson – and I’d like to read the progression of their maybe-romance.
This novel was disturbing, but invigorating. It’s a mystery thriller, the likes of which I have never read before and an absolutely must-read for lovers of the genre.