2017; 387 pages. Book 9 (out of 10, and not counting a couple of short stories) in the D.D. Warren series. New Author? : Yes. Murder-Mystery; Police Procedural. Overall Rating : 8½*/10.
They said it was a family murder, but it wasn’t. It was a family execution.
The dad died first. Three shots as he sat on the couch. He probably never even realized what was happening. The mom was next, killed in the kitchen as she was putting away groceries. Probably heard the dad getting shot and was still trying to figure out what was going on when she took three bullets of her own.
But the kids upstairs understood. Because nine-year old Manny was shot three times as his older sister, thirteen-year-old Lola, shielded him with her own body. It didn’t work. For either of them.
Incredibly, one of the family survived. The oldest sister, sixteen-year-old Roxy was out taking the two family dogs for a walk, so she wasn’t there when the killings went down. She’s one very lucky girl.
Unless, of course, she knew the killer was about to strike.
Or unless she was the one that did the shooting.
What’s To Like...
Look For Me is a murder-mystery set in Boston, and featuring a no-nonsense police detective, D.D. Warren, and co-starring Flora Dane, a self-described vigilante, whom I gather is a recent addition to the series. This two-protagonist structure works well: D.D.’s chapters are in the third-person POV, Flora’s are in the first-person.
I’m partial to police procedurals, and this book did not disappoint. I liked the fact that D.D., although living a harried life in trying to balance her professional and family life (which includes a husband, a 5-year-old son, and now a hyperactive puppy), is not portrayed as the stereotypical burnt out hero/cop. At least yet.
We follow D.D. and Flora as each pursues their independent investigations of the case. I was intrigued by their working relationship. Flora is now “promoted” to the job of “CI” (Confidential Informant), but neither of them fully trusts the other. They find lots of plausible suspects, but for each of these, at least one of the shootings would make no sense. So either everyone (including the reader) is missing something, or else there’s another suspect whom they haven’t discovered yet.
Like any police procedural, this is a gritty tale, with lots of blood and gore, violence, and cussing. Lisa Gardner also takes a deep-probing look at life in the darker side of Boston, including Hispanic girl gangs and the horrors of Foster Care gone wrong. Roxy’s school essay on “What Makes a Perfect Family” is particularly hard-hitting. Both the tension between the two protagonists and these social side-themes keep the plotline from becoming stale.
Everything builds to a tension-filled and exciting climax. No, I didn’t guess correctly as to who the perpetrator was, but D.D. and Flora successfully solve the case, and its resolution was neither arbitrary nor obvious, yet surprisingly logical.
Kewlest New Word...
Acting out (v.; phrase) : misbehaving, especially when unhappy or stressed.
Others : Mudroom (n.; we have no need for mudrooms where I live).
Do screams have a taste? Fire? Ash? Red hot cinnamon candies, which as a little girl Sarah liked to let melt on the tip of her tongue?
Or is it more that screams have a color? Green and gold giggles, purple and blue cackles, or this? Molten white. Melt your eyeballs, singe-the-hair-on-your-arms, bright, white? A color too brilliant for nature, searing straight to the core.
That’s what Heidi screamed. Molten white. (pg. 2)
“Girl with the reddish-gold hair, that Anya Seton by any chance?”
He gave me a suspicious look. “Why?”
“I, um, saw her in a play once. Thought that had to be her.”
“Yeah. She’s in most of the local productions. Gonna be a big star one day.” He rolled his eyes. “Likes to tell us that as she signs a napkin and leaves it as a tip.”
“Yep. Cuz, you know, Brighton community theater is only one short step from Broadway.” (pg. 217)
It was pretty hard to commit suicide by shooting yourself three times in the chest. (pg. 17)
I don’t really have any quibbles about Look For Me, but I’m new to the series. Some Amazon reviewers are not keen about Flora Dane sharing the stage with D.D., but I liked the arrangement.
Others are tired of Flora’s backstory being recounted in every book she appears in, but for newcomers like me, that’s indispensable. I think it’s a plus when you don’t have to read a murder-mystery series in chronological order to know what's going on.
That being said, I never did figure out why Flora’s left hand is always bandaged. I suppose I’ll have to read some earlier books in the series to find out. Somehow, that seems a pleasant task.
8½ Stars. It's always a delight to discover a fascinating new police-procedural author to read, and Lisa Gardner is just that/ I think it's time to hit the used-book stores in search of her other novels.