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Between the Pages, Past
A Mystery Column

January 2020
Mystery / FBI

When You See Me
Detective D.D. Warren #11
by Lisa Gardner

Review & Interview by Elise Cooper

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner is a home run. This book has four female heroines stepping up to the plate, working together to solve a town’s murders. What makes it extra-special is that it brings together three characters: Boston Homicide Detective D.D. Warren, FBI special agent Kimberly Quincy and recovering torture victim turned vigilante Flora Dane.

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. They travel to this small town after two hikers find bones which turn out to be those of a woman who has been missing for many years. Could this be another of Jacob Ness’ victims since he had ties to Georgia? While processing the bones from the first find other graves are discovered and suddenly this becomes a huge murder investigation.

A very helpful witness is a mute teenage maid known only as Girl, who has crucial information to the killings. She attaches herself to detective D.D. Warren hopeful she can overcome her brain injury brought about from a gunshot wound. The other three women protagonists work together with “THE GIRL” to find who is behind all these killings. All four are totally different but they have a single purpose, to solve the gruesome crimes.

Readers will be on their edge of their seats. This is an emotionally powerful story. Words cannot sufficiently describe what a fabulous novel this is.

Elise Cooper: Is this an end to the series?

Lisa Gardner: This book wraps up the series. I first had the idea after listening to True Crime podcasts regarding Cold Cases. There is closure for vigilante Flora Dane. I hope readers think this is a nice ending for all the characters. In the series Detective Warren had eleven books, FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy had six, and Flora had three.

Elise: How would you describe “The Girl,” Bonita?

Lisa: She is a young lost soul. Because of a head trauma she cannot speak and never learned to read or write. She is trapped, helpless, and literally does not have a voice. In place of being robbed of her voice, she uses colors to communicate and describe people. Detective Warren to Bonita is a burst of oranges, yellows, and red. FBI Agent Quincy is seen by her with colors like the “shades of a forest, with sparks of fireflies. She is of the earth. Quieter, but sparkly in her own way.” I think she is a compelling character. She shows her determination and is a bit angry, but has hope.


Elise: Did you do research?

Lisa: I worked with speech therapists and a person who is a specialist in forensic evidence. There is no magical solution. I learned that they communicate with non-verbal children through pictures. Usually these witnesses are not used in the trial, but to gather evidence.


Elise: How would you describe Flora?

Lisa: She is edgier and darker than Bonita, who had the buffer of her age and memories of her mother. Flora is a damaged, determined vigilante-turned-victim activist. She wants to find a place for herself post the horrors she suffered at the hands of serial rapist/killer Jacob Ness. She has thrived while working with D.D. on the search for other victims and by supporting other survivors in their quest to build lives for themselves after enduring violent crimes. Both she and Bonita do not want to be survivors, but want to have thriving lives.


Elise: How would you compare D. D. to Kimberly?

Lisa: D. D. is more brash, intuitive, impetuous, and laser-focused. Kimberly is more measured, uses charm, and has more patience. They are united in a common goal, to catch the bad guys.


Elise: What about the setting?

Lisa: I live in the mountains of New Hampshire similar to this small town in Georgia. It has dark secrets and is creepy; yet, can be quaint as well. The scenic main street, while filled with charming shops and beautiful Victorian bed and breakfasts, is also sinister.


Elise: Your next book?

Lisa: It is a new book with new characters. The protagonist is someone who in their free time searches for missing minority children. Regarding another D. D. Warren book, I would say the odds are good.

Elise and would like to thank Lisa Gardner for both the review and interview.

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