LOVE YOU MORE
Written by Lisa Gardner
Review written by LJ Hurst
Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung
Released: 21st July 2011
LOVE YOU MORE is the fifth in Lisa Gardner’s D. D. Warren series. D.D. is a Sergeant Detective in the Boston Police Department and she has just been paired up with an old flame. She seems to be going down with something as the couple are sent out to a troublesome case – a woman with a gun found standing by her husband who has been shot dead in their home.
The woman would have a gun – she is a Massachusetts State Trooper, and she would have had a reason to use it, if not now then at some time, as underneath her body armour her torso shows the bruises of a domestic assault. Her face shows a more recent beating, so bad she cannot be questioned immediately. And causes a problem, because her daughter is missing and she cannot or will not answer.
Perhaps bootprints in the snow and on the doorstep would help identify where the girl has gone and who might have her. Perhaps they would, but by the time D. D. reaches the house, troops of troopers have swarmed through, unwittingly erasing evidence. While waiting D. D. and her partner Bobby do some research and discover that State Trooper Tessa Leoni has an unsual background, most unusually she entered police academy having already shot and killed one man; her husband, meanwhile, seems an ordinary Joe, a marine engineer whose job takes him away month and month about. Perhaps Officer Leoni got cabin fever during one of his home visits. Or perhaps not.
Alternating with D. D.’s chapters are chapters narrated by Leoni, first from her hospital bed and then from the varying stages as she is taken through arrest and remand. You will learn something about her thinking, but not enough, never more than D. D. and Bobby are discovering. That is frustrating because you will realise before them that Tessa Leoni is a patsy – but she will not tell you why. Not before her time.
The Wikipedia entry on Lisa Gardner reckons that her KILLING HOUR (2003) owes a lot to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1988). In a similar way, the “patsy” plot of LOVE YOU MORE made me think of Lee Child’s ONE SHOT (2005). Ultimately, though, Gardner’s villains are not super-villainous enough to explain the complexity of the plot, leaving the denouement anti-climactic after a build-up of prison cell stabbings, missing children, and (best of all) makeshift exhumations and exploding corpses. Those, though, are a pretty good reward for a fast reader on the way.