Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

Brenda’s thoughts

Lisa Gardner introduces us to a new tough, intriguing character Frankie who has found her way by searching and finding forgotten missing persons.

“So many of our children have vanished. Too many will never be found, often based solely on the color of their skin” ~ Frankie.

Things I loved

While it took me a bit into the book to warm up to Frankie, I liked that her demons were her regrets and guilt, and she used that to drive her to search for the lost. I felt this gave that broken, tough side a little something different from your typical “broken women” trope. Gardner brilliantly and realistically illustrates Frankie’s struggles with her addiction to alcohol. I loved that Frankie doesn’t fall into those overused tropes used for characters with addiction. While Frankie is an outsider and a loner, she uses that to her benefit to find out what she needs. She is a wise-ass but not cringy, broken but not self-destructive, and tough as nails but not invincible.

“average, middle-aged white woman with more regrets than belongings, more sad stories than happy ones.” ~Frankie

Frankie travels the world searching for missing people cold cases. At first, I questioned who would do that for no money, no recognition, and most of the time with no help. Gardner has taken inspiration from real-life people and shows us through Frankie why.

Frankie searches for teenager Angelique, who doesn’t fit the profile of a typical runaway or type of character often used while relying on the girl missing trope to drive the story forward.

The use of the setting in and around Mattapan. We get a strong sense of community, the streets and what I loved the most is the food. I like to see what and hear what characters are eating and enjoying.

What I didn’t love as much

Here the mystery is solid, something a little different, unpredictable, engaging, and I have no idea how realistic it could be. However, the mystery overshadows the developing characters and their dynamics. I would have preferred a stronger connection to the characters. Often I become more focused on the characters and find them the most appealing part of the story, and the crime becomes second to them.

At times the crime blogged down the story and felt repetitive as Frankie and Lotham hash out what they learn, the clues, and their theories. I wanted to see more into Frankie’s past and what drives her demons of regret and guilt. The pace picks up with the story’s climax, and I enjoy the race against time, and we see Frankie relive some of what drives her guilt

Reason to read this one.

For a solid unpredictable, not what you might expect mystery that even a seasoned reader could be left guessing while trying to figure out the clues as Frankie does. The twists and turns are not shocking or rely on out of the blue didn’t see that coming. It’s a go with the flow and figure out the clues along with Frankie.

Penny for your thoughts!! Have you read this one? Want to?

5 thoughts on “Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner”

  1. Great review Brenda. It has been on my TBR since before it was released, but I haven’t actually picked it up yet. II definitely need to after reading this review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nikki!!! All is well!! I hope you are doing well too!! Happy New Year!!!


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