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Saturday 26 September 2015

‘Crash and Burn’ by Lisa Gardner

Published by Headline,
16 July 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-2026-4

I've been a fan of Lisa Gardner's since I read The Perfect Husband, a creepy tale of a vengeful husband and a woman who fights back.  Crash And Burn, her most recent offering, starts with what might seem a well-used plot and quickly turns it into something much more sinister. 

I was gripped from the very first paragraph.  A woman called Nicky wakes from severe concussion in hospital.  She has suffered a horrific car accident which she only survives because of the desperate adrenalin-fuelled need to find a child called Vero who was in the car with her.  Or was she?  Is Nicky who she thinks she is?  Is Michael Frank, the man sitting beside her hospital bed, really her husband?    

We learn that Nicky has a drink problem. Or does she?  That she has had two other concussive accidents in the past six months.  That she has no family other than her husband. That she and Michael move constantly from town to town and house to house. And still she has to find Vero, the missing child, though the police in charge of the case – Detectives Wyatt Foster and Kevin Santos – can find no trace of one at the crash site.  And then the husband reveals that there is no child, there never has been.  The reader will find it incredibly difficult to put this book down until the very last page as revelation and obfuscation pile themselves one on top of the other and reality seems to change from moment to moment. 
But what is reality?  Are there different of truth?   Gardner seizes our attention while she skilfully winds her plot tighter and tighter.  I've read The Perfect Husband several times, not something I do very often with a crime novel.  I shall probably be doing the same with Crash & Burn.
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Lisa Gardner, New York Times crime thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, her work as a research analyst for an international consulting firm parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics and twisted plots into a streak of internationally bestselling suspense novels.

Susan Moody was born and brought up in Oxford.  She has published over 30 crime and suspense novels, including the Penny Wanawake series and the Cassandra Swann bridge series.  She is a past Chairman of the British Crime Writers' Association, a member of the Detection Club, a past Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tasmania and a past President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  She divides her time between south-west France and south-east Kent.   Nominated for the CWA short story award.  Nominated for the RNA's award. 

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