Tell by Lisa Gardner
brings back some of her well-known characters. Detective D.
D. Warren and CI Flora Dane must work together to find the
truth behind a murder. It powerfully examines how someone's
past can come back to haunt them, especially when the police
appear to have tunnel vision.
The book opens with a pregnant wife, Evelyn “Evie”
Carter, returning home to find her husband murdered. What
she does next becomes very puzzling to the police: She empties
the gun bullets into the computer. As the police rush in she
is caught with the gun, leading the detectives, including,
Warren, to think it is an open and shut case. Reinforced by
the knowledge that Evie previously confessed to accidentally
killing her father, the detective sees a pattern.
Once the news of the husband Conrad's murder goes public,
kidnapping survivor-turned-vigilante and D.D.'s unofficial
informant, Flora Dane, asserts that she recognizes Conrad
as a man who was acquainted with her kidnapper, Jacob Ness.
Flora has survived the emotional, and physical abuse Ness
inflicted on her and is now determined to find the truth behind
different crime scenes. Feeling the police are jumping to
conclusions, Flora goes rogue and hooks up with computer crime
analyst Keith Edgar and FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy, who previously
tracked down Ness and freed Flora. Believing Conrad is tied
to the serial killer Ness, she convinces the FBI and police
to recognize that with this case nothing is as it seems to
be. The many lies and secrets need to be deciphered before
justice can be found.
Gardner noted, “The relevance of Jacob is that he is
the single most powerful relationship Flora ever had. DD says
in the book that any investigation of Jacob will have Flora
forever follow. Wherever Flora goes so goes the ghost of Jacob.
There is not one without the other. He is a monster who never
repented but feels victimized because of it. Jacob is whiny,
lonely, not empathetic, downright cruel, and obsessed with
being all powerful. He sees himself victimized by society.
Flora learned to survive by recognizing a loneliness in Jacob
and becoming his confidant, his friend. Conversely, this is
what she has a hard time reconciling and coming to terms with.
The appeal of her story is her determination to find the light
and not see herself always as a victim, but as a survivor."
The three female protagonists are nothing alike. According
to Gardner, “Evie is sleep-walking through life, and
refers to herself as a "dead woman walking." She
has not dealt with her father's death, her marriage problems,
and her poor relationship with her mother. She has avoided
and hidden from real life since her adulthood is built on
a pretty big lie. By definition, she cannot trust. But now,
because of what happened to her husband, she has to stop running."
“Flora is a character I wrote and am very fond of. She
is a survivor who struggles with guilt. Having PTSD has manifested
itself in her by making her more hypervigilant. I think she
is a manic who has anxiety and copes by going to extremes.
Flora is obsessed with self-defense. I think she realizes
she has not healed and that she is in active recovery mode.”
“Then there is D.D. She is a workaholic, possibly to
the point of obsession. She doesn’t care if she is liked.
I think having a child has softened her edges. Now she questions
if she works too much. I think many readers like that she
is unapologetically brash, abrupt, and often rude, with a
take no prisoners attitude.”
This is a story that will resonate with readers because of
all the exciting elements. It also has a unique storyline
that will force readers to change their minds about the likeability
of the three female protagonists.
of other titles in this series