After hikers discover human remains in the wilds of Georgia, a federal task force is pulled together to investigate. It doesn’t take long, however, for FBI agent Kimberly Quincy and Boston Detective D.D. Warren to determine that a serial killer is at work and possibly has been for a very long time. Joining the team is Flora Dane, once a victim, now a survivor and an advocate for others, and Keith Edgar, a computer whiz and true crime fan. As citizens begin to close ranks, Kimberly and her team realize they can trust no one, not even the local sheriff.
This is my first Lisa Gardner book and what a way to be introduced to a crime writer. Jumping into the middle of a series can often be tricky, but Gardner quickly fills in each character’s back story so the focus can be placed on the current mystery. The narrative unfolds in several voices – D.D.’s, Kimberly’s, Flora’s, and a maid who works and lives in the local B&B run by the town’s mayor and his wife. D.D. calls the young girl Bonita, and although she can’t speak, supplied with crayons and paper, she begins to draw clues for the team to follow.
The Mountain Laurel B&B, owned by Howard and Martha Counsel, soon becomes the epicenter of the investigation. When a body is found – a suicide or a murder? – D.D. and Kimberly bring their laser like focus to the beautiful, historic, although very creepy, structure. As more bodies are discovered in the areas outside the small town, additional resources are brought in. But can D.D. and Kimberly identify and stop this killer, as well as the town conspiracy protecting him, before the body count increases even more?
The plot line involving Flora relates to her abduction and imprisonment for more than a year by a serial killer named Jacob Ness who once operated in the same Georgia area. Although Ness is now dead – Flora killed him – D.D. and Kimberly want to determine if some of the bodies they are finding were Jacob’s victims. Flora still suffers from PTSD and becoming part of an investigation that could unearth more facts about her own ordeal is traumatic. However, she never anticipates what and whom she discovers.
Strong women abound in When You See Me, a theme that seems to run through other books in Gardner’s series. Confrontations with the killers place Kimberly and D.D. in danger, but they survive thanks to their physical abilities and mental toughness. That both women have families and have to work hard to balance that personal/work balance makes them seem more human and relatable. A very exciting and satisfying read.
When You See Me
Top photo: Bigstock