Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Bantam (July 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553807242
ISBN-13: 978-0553807240

In her just released psycological suspense thriller, Live to Tell, (4th in the series) the story is told from the point of view of three narrators: D.D. Warren is a Detective with the Boston PD. She's been working hard and enjoying an infrequent night out when she gets the call to investigate a family annihilation case. The next day, another case comes to light with almost the same circumstances; father shot, mother stabbed and children dead. The m.o. may be similar but the families are totally different socially and geographically.

D.D. Warren and her team are baffled but they try to find a common denominator. What comes to light is a link to a pediatric psych hospital in Cambridge; each family has had some dealings with the hospital. Now the investigation starts to narrow down the possible motives and suspects. All of the employees are thoroughly scrutinized including past personnel or anyone who had connections to the hospital. A daunting job to be sure!

Victoria: mother of 9 year old Evan, her psychologically challenged son with psychotic tendencies. He repeatedly tells his mother he is going to kill her and she is constantly on the alert to keep all the kitchen knives accounted for. The lead in at the beginning of the book had my heart racing. Always a good beginning of a thriller.

Danielle: a nurse at Cambridge psych hospital who is the sole survivor of a family annihilation. Her father killed both her siblings and her mother when Danielle was only 9 years old. For years she has felt survivors guilt and still has been trying to make sense of why she was spared. Is it because her father loved her or because he hated her? Now that the 25th anniversary of the tragic event is coming up, Danielle wants to spend more and more time working but at one point after a horrible, unforseen incident with one of the kids, her supervisor demands she take time off.

In Live to Tell, Gardner does a fantastic job of setting up the suspense and I really liked the way more and more of Danielle's back story was slowly revealed. Even though there is a change in narrators, I found the transition to be a smooth one and did not detract from the plot's pace.

The ending was a tad bit of a let down for me as it was easy to see who the murderer was and I thought the motive was inane and not too believable. Up to the denoument and motive revelation it was a very fast paced and pulse pounding read with quite a few twists. I would certainly recommend the book and would be willing to read more in the series. For more info on Lisa Gardner and her books, you can visit her website. 4****

Disclosure: Review copy of the book was supplied by Bantam Dell through the Goodreads program.


  1. Thank you for the review. I have this one in my TBR Review Pile...sounds as if I will enjoy it.

  2. Sounds like a good read even if the end was a bit of a letdown.

  3. I will agree the ending was not a huge surprise...but I loved the journey there. I agree she did the multi-narrators very well.
    I really like this book myself.

  4. Great review, looking forward to reading it as I am a fan of D.D. Warren.

  5. I snagged this one at BEA for my mom who loves Gardner's books. I hope she'll have a review for me soon.

  6. I've read one of her books and really enjoyed it. Doesn't it make you wonder why someone didn't catch the fact that the motive was really a cliche'??? Overall though, it seems like you enjoyed it and that is a good thing!


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