Book Review | Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardener

Book Details

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. 

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

Goodreads’ Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Never before has a thriller caused me to be misty-eyed until Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner.

What I Loved

I loved the impactful manner in which the story handles a variety of social issues. Everything from immigration status to racial tensions to gang violence is covered in this thrilling tale without losing even an ounce of the thrills and suspense I expect from the genre. The impact is even more profound because it never feels preachy or politicized. Instead, it feels like the illumination of a geographical area with that area’s social issues. That makes the events stand out in profound ways.

The main character, Frankie Elkin, is haunted by the past, and that leads her to her driving passion for finding missing people once they become a cold case. She has a knack for asking the right questions, which she prides herself on, and she can find out more information than the police by utilizing this skill. She is a loner and prefers it that way. Attachments cause pain, and she has already faced more than her fair share of pain. Do I like her? Not really, but her character is crafted so skillfully by the author that the fact that she doesn’t want to be liked – she simply wants to find the missing – affects the reader’s perception as well as the perception of the characters she meets along the way.

I also love that the ending elicits strong emotions from me. It is so powerful that I found myself tearing up as I read it. Maybe it was because it was about children, but I decided that it was only part of it. Frankie’s story is so dark and destructive that I couldn’t help but feel a great deal of empathy for all the choices she makes and the consequences she has to face.

To Read or Not to Read

If you are looking for a mystery thriller that can move you to tears Before She Disappears by Lisa Gardner will do that and more.

Publication Date: January 19, 2021

Amazon US Link

29 Replies to “Book Review | Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardener”

  1. Oh my sounds exciting. Thriller which moved you to tears – wow. Fantastic review. Made me want to get the book

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. You don’t often hear about an emotional response at the end of a thriller. That really intrigues me. Thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Books that move you to an emotional level like that are those that stay with you long after you close the cover.
    Excellent review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, fellow Lisa Gardner admirer, I hear you ! I’m on a book buying ban but if there’s one book, one !, that I will buy, this is the new one by that wonderful author that I love to pieces, she’s like an addiction to me, I read all her books ! Next week, I buy the book and I read the book 🙂 Great review, Tessa !

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I completely agree. I think books that handle social issues in that manner are much more impactful and make the reader more aware than if it’s contrived and preachy. Glad you loved it ❤️


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