Featured Review: ‘Never Tell’ by Lisa Gardner

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Never TellNever Tell, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s stellar 10th D.D. Warren novel (and third featuring Find Her, 2016, carryover Flora Dane) is her most twisting thriller to date. 

Gardner’s latest opens with a pregnant woman driving home after work before suddenly taking a murderous turn. By the time the police break into the home of schoolteacher Evelyn Carter (who goes by Evie), her husband lay dead at her feet. Conrad took three bullets before collapsing on the floor in his home office, and Evie is caught red-handed holding a gun that’s practically still smoking from the barrel when the cops arrive. It’s obvious she’s the shooter, or so Detective D.D. Warren thinks, though Evelyn is adamant she’s innocent.

For Warren, the case looks open and shut. Plus, the two have a history together that reinforces the detective’s belief. Sixteen years back, when D.D. was a young investigator, one of her first cases involved the shooting of Evie’s father, who was also shot and killed at point-blank range. Though Warren always questioned what really happened, the shooting was eventually ruled to be an accident. 

 One shooting might be an accident. But two?

Warren ain’t buying it.  

Once news of Conrad’s murder reaches the airwaves, Flora Dane recognizes him as someone connected to her own horrific past. Only a few years ago, Dane was a victim herself, kidnapped and held by an evil man named Jacob Ness. Since then, she’s become a go-to source for Detective Warren, while also working as a part-time investigator and vigilante, seeking justice for those who might not otherwise receive help. Along with Keith Edgar, a real-crime enthusiast, Flora launches her own investigation that takes her back to her darkest days, forcing her to re-live a period of time she wants only to forget in order to find out the truth about Conrad Carter.

As the plot unfolds, Warren and Dane take different paths in search of the truth, but slowly discover that nothing is quite what it seems . . . and Gardner masterfully reveals one shocking twist after another, forcing readers to question how much you can ever really know about someone. 

With no disrespect to D.D. Warren, Flora Dane is fast becoming Gardner’s best character. While the investigation starts through Warren, for the third time in as many years, Dane continues to steal every scene that she’s in. Going backward to re-examine her past was brilliant, and Gardner uses that opportunity to flesh her out a bit more while answering a number of questions along the way. Best of all, that look back at Flora never feels forced. The transition is smooth and ties nicely into the plot, which is jam-packed with the kind of suspense Gardner’s fans have come to expect. 

Never Tell is another nail-biting page-turner from Lisa Gardner, the undisputed queen of suspense, and the kind of thriller that’ll stay with readers weeks after turning the final page. 

Book Details

Author: Lisa Gardner
Series: D.D. Warren #10
Pages: 416(Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524742082
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: January 19, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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