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Before She Disappeared--A Novel
Cover of Before She Disappeared--A Novel
Before She Disappeared--A Novel
A Frankie Elkin Novel Series, Book 1
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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFrom #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 INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFrom #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...
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  • THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
    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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1
     
    The water feels like a cold caress against my face. I kick deeper down into the gloom, my long hair trailing behind me like a dark eel. I’m wearing clothes. Jeans, tennis shoes, a t-shirt topped with an open windbreaker that wings out and slows my descent. My clothing grows heavier and heavier till I can barely flutter my legs, work my arms.

    Why am I in clothes? 


    Wet suit. 


    Oxygen tanks.

               
    Thoughts drift through my mind but I can’t quite grab them.

               
    I must reach the bottom of the lake. Where the sunlight no longer penetrates and sinuous creatures lurk. I must find… I must do…

               
    My lungs are now as heavy as my legs. A feeling of pressure builds in my chest.

               
    An old Chevy truck. Dented, battered, with a cab roof sun-bleached the color of a barely lit sky.

    This image appears in my mind and I seize it tightly.  That’s why I’m here, that’s what I’m looking for. A sliver of silver in the lake’s muck.

               
    I started with sonar. Another random thought, but as I sink lower in the watery abyss, I can picture that, too. Me, piloting a small boat that I’d rented with my own money. Conducting long sweeps across the lake for two days straight, which was all I could afford, working a theory everyone else had dismissed. Until…

               
    Where is my wet suit? My oxygen tank? Something’s wrong.  I need…  I must…

               
    I can’t hold the thought. My lungs are burning. I feel them collapsing in my chest and the desire to inhale is overwhelming. A single gasp of dark, cloudy water. No longer fighting the lake, but becoming one with it. Then I won’t have to swim anymore. I will plummet to the bottom, and if my theory is right, I will join my target as yet another lost soul never to be seen again.

               
    Old truck. Cab roof sun-bleached the color of a barely lit sky. Remember. Focus. Find it.

               
    Is that a glimpse of silver I see over there, partially hidden by a dense wall of waving grasses?

               
    I try to head in that direction but get tangled in my flapping windbreaker. I pause, treading my legs frantically while trying to free my arms from my jacket’s clinging grip.

               
    Chest, constricting tighter.

               
    Didn’t I have an oxygen tank?

               
    Wasn’t I wearing a wet suit?

               
    Something is so very wrong. I need to hold the thought, but the lake is winning and my chest hurts and my limbs have grown tired.

               
    The water is soft against my cheek. It calls to me, and I feel myself...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 23, 2020
    Recovering alcoholic Frankie Elkin, the narrator of this outstanding crime novel from bestseller Gardner (When You See Me), has found purpose, if not peace, in channeling her addictive personality into finding missing women no one else bothers to search for. Newly arrived in Boston, Frankie sets out on the trail of 16-year-old Angelique Lovelie Badeau, who seems destined to beat the odds in her tough Haitian community. What would drive Angelique, a girl with such a bright future, to simply disappear one day? Frankie’s search leads her through a thicket of gangs, traffickers, and institutional racism. The mystery’s solution is a neat twist on the obvious dangers that might destroy a talented girl’s dreams. Frankie, who describes herself as an “average middle-aged white woman,” is a nuanced character whose unflinching honesty and lack of self-pity allows the reader to empathize, if not completely sympathize, with her struggles. And cat lovers are sure to fall for Piper, Frankie’s equally dysfunctional feral companion. Gardner pulls no punches in this socially conscious standalone. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency.

  • Booklist

    December 15, 2020
    Vagabond investigator Frankie Elkin (think Reacher with the gift of gab over guns) lands in Boston's rough-edged Mattapan neighborhood on a mission to find Angelique Badeau, a teenager who disappeared 11 months earlier. In a blink, Frankie has secured a bartending job at the neighborhood drinking hole, found an AA meeting, and pissed off the cops investigating Angelique's disappearance. (They're not buying her investigation as public service, and she's not enlightening them about her need for redemption.) Frankie is sure that Angelique isn't a runaway: she's too close to her Aunt Guerline and her brother, Emmanuel. So Frankie pokes the soft spots in Angelique's inner circle and finds that Angelique grew secretive after participating in a rec-center program where she befriended Livia Samdi, another missing Mattapan teen, whose gangland connections up the stakes. When Emmanuel reports that Angelique has left him a coded plea for help online, Frankie's baggage-laden obsession pushes her straight into Mattapan's underworld. It's hard to tag just one stand-out element here, between the multidimensional portrayal of Mattapan's Haitian expat community, Frankie's humanizing demons and straightforward investigative technique, and a page-turning plot with all its ends tucked in unpredictably tight. Tense and immersive, Gardner's latest (hopefully a series starter) is a sure bet both for readers drawn to gritty gumshoe fiction and for the growing legion of true-crime podcast fans.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    January 8, 2021

    It's been a while since Gardner (When You See Me) wrote a stand-alone; this one is well worth the wait. Readers will fall in love with her protagonist, Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic lost soul who keeps sober by running from her past and roaming from city to city seeking cold-case missing people that law enforcement has given up on. After 14 cases, she's hoping to finally rescue her first living victim, Angelique Badeau, a local Haitian high school girl who went missing without a trace several months ago. As Frankie works this puzzling case, readers will have to pay close attention to the subtle carrots Gardner dangles in front of them. It's a wild ride through Boston's Mattapan neighborhood; a mix of real and imagined dangerous streets where her local characters perfectly reflect the rich mix of island cultures there. VERDICT Fans of this incredible author, police procedurals, timely immigrant stories, strong determined women, and tales that are not tied up with a pretty bow at the end will not be able to get enough of this intense page-turner.--Debbie Haupt, St. Charles City-Cty. Lib. Dist., St. Peters, MO

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2021
    Gardner introduces Frankie Elkin, a tough, street-smart survivor who has found her calling searching for missing persons. Frankie is an alcoholic who considers herself responsible for the death of the man she loved. As penance, she travels around the country, volunteering to locate missing people for whom there may be no new leads. She knows that not everyone believes in her gifts or trusts her motives, but she cannot back down from the opportunity to find answers for these grieving families. When she comes to Boston to investigate the disappearance of Angelique Badeau, she takes a cheap apartment and a bartending job at a scruffy neighborhood bar, sticking out like a sore thumb but determined to make headway in a case that has baffled the police. Teenagers go missing and teenagers run away, but not Angelique. She and her brother survived the earthquake in Haiti to live with their aunt in America, taking advantage of opportunities to work hard and get a good education. Frankie discovers that Angelique is not the only teenage girl to have disappeared in the neighborhood; a few months after her, another girl went missing. This girl's family, torn apart by gang violence and poverty, may have been reason enough to run away, but Frankie has been around the block enough to know: There are no coincidences. Then Angelique passes a message to her brother: proof of life, but no hint as to where she's being held. With the help of a ruggedly handsome detective, Frankie digs relentlessly into the case--until people start dying. Now in a race against time, she must discover why these girls have been kidnapped--and why they might be running out of time. Gardner is a pro at writing tough-as-nails, wiseass, broken-yet-steely female characters, and Frankie does not disappoint. Plus, it's a pretty solid mystery. Fans of Gardner's Tessa Leoni, D.D. Warren, and Flora Dane will embrace her new heroine's grit and empathy.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Before She Disappeared--A Novel
Before She Disappeared--A Novel
A Frankie Elkin Novel Series, Book 1
Lisa Gardner
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