by Lisa Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Note: This was written as part of my Amazon Vine Voice agreement
Love You More (Bantam, March 2011) is Lisa Gardner’s latest in a long list of riveting thrillers. It’s the story of a State Trooper with a storied background who is accused of killing her husband and the daughter she loves more than her own life. It’s told through the eyes of both DD Warren, the detective investigating the case and Tessa Leoni, the accused mother. Gardner allows us pretty much unlimited access to DD’s mind, but only Tessa’s current thoughts as we the reader sift through the meanderings of a frantic mother worried about her child and beaten savagely by her husband before she kills him in self-defense.
Or so we believe. From the beginning, the story follows unexpected twists and turns that will leave you reading chapter after chapter, swearing this is your last because you have to go to bed, but just one more and then I can stop. You know what I mean–that’s why those of us who love the genre only read them when we have enough time to consume the entire book.
Did I mention the lead detective is pregnant for the first time and hasn’t yet told her boyfriend? Do you think she has mixed emotions about a woman her age killing her only child? Then there’s the tidbit that the abused mother has killed before. And how about the husband who has a gambling problem–a big one. He’s been beaten up by enforcers and still can’t stay away from his vice. How do all of these pieces play into the double murder?
My only objection to Gardner’s writing is she repeats a dramatic occurrence too many times, as though to make sure we get it or wring out a few more drops of frenzy from the trauma. Rather than up the emotional ante, it slows the story’s pace, giving me that moment when I feel I can put the book down and take a break. That’s not something a thriller writer wants to grant his/her readers.
Despite that, my recommendations is read this. Set aside a weekend, maybe a couple of long plane flights. Devour it. You won’t be sorry.