Book Review: NEVER TELL by Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner has done it again! Never Tell is an absorbing, twisty, one-sitting, page-turner of a read with dialogue that snaps and crackles, and a plot line that accelerates to a roaring, action-packed climax! What a talent Ms. Gardner has for pulling the reader directly into her story, with a writing style that feels relatable, authentic, and deceptively effortless.

Set mainly in wintertime Boston, Never Tell is the tenth police procedural featuring Gardner’s beloved character, D.D. Warren, now a Sergeant Detective with the homicide department of the Boston Police Force, as well as a wife and mother. In this installment, that takes place one month after the events of Gardner’s previous novel, Look For Me, we also see the return of another popular Gardner character: tough and determined survivor, Flora Dane, who has evolved into Sergeant Detective Warren’s confidential informant, as well as a self-appointed advocate and protector of survivors. D.D. Warren’s professional work and Flora Dane’s “vigilante” efforts intersect, yet again, when a possible connection is discovered between a recent murder, and Jacob Ness, the sexual predator who held then college-aged Flora Dane captive for 472 days, until she was rescued by an FBI SWAT team approximately six years prior to the events of Never Tell. The plot of Never Tell thickens when D.D. realizes that the person accused of murder in the current case was involved in another killing that D.D. investigated sixteen years earlier. D.D. Warren, who is supposed to be a desk-bound supervising sergeant, cannot possibly sit this one out, and actively investigates! Lisa Gardner masterfully weaves together several investigative threads that may or may not relate to Flora Dane’s heartbreaking backstory. Something that really distinguishes Never Tell from many other works of crime fiction, is that it explores the effects of crime, and death, upon not just the victim (or survivor), but the novel explores the lifelong reverberations upon everyone - friends, colleagues, acquaintances, family - that was, or is, in that victim’s life. It should be noted that just enough information is provided by the author so that Never Tell can definitely be read without having read the previous Flora Dane or D.D. Warren novels.

I am one of those rare, crime fiction fans who have read only a few of prolific, American novelist Lisa Gardner’s books. Never Tell is my favorite so far, absolutely! From the first page to the last, I was completely gripped and engaged!

Best for Crime Fiction Readers:

  • Who enjoy character-rich, American, police procedurals.

  • Who appreciate crime fiction featuring one or more strong, determined, female investigators.

  • Who enjoy reading courtroom drama. There is a courtroom scene in Never Tell, as well as deliberations between the accused and their defense attorney.

  • Who don’t mind reading about some darker subject matter. Be prepared for some retelling of the ordeal that Flora Dane, the survivor of a lengthy abduction, went through. Please note that Never Tell is not gratuitously violent.

  • Who appreciate crime fiction that illuminates the perseverance and resilience of survivors.

  • Who love crime fiction that opens with suspense and danger that pulls the reader immediately into the story!

    Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

Publisher’s Description:

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun. 

D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman--Evie Carter--from a case many years back. Evie's father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many. 

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim--a hostage--and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad's murder. 

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

MINM Overall Rating of Lisa Gardner’s Book, Never Tell: 5/5 Stars!

Which crime novel of Lisa Gardner’s is your favorite?

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