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Touch & Go    by Lisa Gardner order for
Touch & Go
by Lisa Gardner
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Wanda Plourde

Here you have what most people would think of as the perfect family unit. A devoted husband, a dutiful wife and a sweet fifteen year old daughter living in a beautiful house in a perfect neighbourhood, with everything you could ever want. But behind closed doors, the Denbe's have a fair bit of dysfunction and they are about to find out how much.

Justin and Libby return from a Friday date night to find that the security system is off and the house is in darkness. They creep into the house, only to be tasered by assailants and thrown into a van, along with their teenage daughter Ashlyn. Kidnapped and thrown into a deserted prison (with no demands being made) leaves the Denbe family terrified for their lives. Their captors seem to have a military background and attempting escape is futile.

Huddled together in a small cell, all sorts of secrets come to light. Such as the fact that Libby is addicted to prescription drugs, after learning that her husband had an affair with a girl half his age. All the dirty laundry is being aired and the Denbe's need to find a way back, in order to trick their captures into letting them go.

The police are on the case but with no leads. And the fact that there were no demands is making their job a whole lot tougher. Investigator Tessa Leoni was hired privately by the company that Justin owns and there's also a county sheriff working the case in the district where some leads were found. Time is running out for the Denbe's and so is the investigators' luck.

What a twisted, totally mind bending book! It has you turning pages quickly, because you want to know what is going to happen next. Lisa Gardner keeps you on the edge of your seat until the wee hours. Touch & Go simply cannot be put down. The characters, the clues, and the whole setting are so well done that they keep you guessing right until the very end - and when you get there, you will be pleased for sure.

2nd Review by Martina Bexte (Rating: 2):

Newly minted investigator Tessa Leoni (first introduced in Love You More) finds herself the lead investigator after an affluent Boston family is kidnapped. It's a baffling case: no signs of forced entry, no witnesses, no ransom demand. It's as if the Denbes dropped off the face of the planet.

As other law enforcement types join the hunt, digging deep for leads and motive, Libby, Justin and daughter Ashlyn Denbe find themselves prisoners in the wilds of New Hampshire, at the mercy of three professionals who won't reveal a motive but instead seem to revel in tormenting the family - and dredging up their darkest secrets.

It's a race against the clock as Tessa and a growing list of investigators frantically work to pinpoint a motive and unravel the Denbe family's secrets, which includes questionable friendships, both personal and business.

Gardner can always be relied upon to create wickedly convoluted plots and she does so again in Touch & Go; the story's twist eluded me until close to the end. Bringing in past character Tessa Leoni to take point on this case, rather than the often abrasive DD Warren (who manages a cameo) was also a refreshing change.

What I found hard to embrace were Denbe family members, especially Libby. A good portion of the book is told through her point of view as she uses flashbacks to show the slow destruction of her family. Despite being caught in the implosion of what she once thought an unshakeable marriage, and then as a victim of a kidnapping, I found her hard to like and sympathise with. The family's incarceration and treatment at the hands of their kidnappers also became somewhat gratuitous and repetitious.

Touch & Go isn't one of Gardner's best due to excessive narrative, top heavy law enforcement involvement, and a couple of detrimental plot twists, but as a whole the author delivers enough of a mystery to keep you turning the pages.

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