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Gone    by Lisa Gardner order for
by Lisa Gardner
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Rainie Connor and Pierce Quincy are back for a fifth encore in Lisa Gardner's latest gripping chiller, Gone. Two years have passed since the pair helped stop a vicious serial killer in The Killing Hour. They've since married and settled down in rural Oregon. When they're not consulting on occasional murder cases, Rainie volunteers as a child advocate and Quincy works on his memoirs. A particularly brutal double murder involving a single mother and her daughter resurrects ghosts from Rainie's own dark past and she slowly begins losing control. Her recurring nightmares, her secrecy, and her increasing isolation from Quincy result in an ever-widening rift between them. Rainie also starts drinking again, effectively ending their plans to adopt a child. Unwilling to watch his wife's deterioration, Quincy moves out, hoping that this drastic step will finally convince Rainie that it's time they face their demons.

But then Quincy's worst nightmare comes true. Rainie is kidnapped - snatched from her car in the middle of the night on a desolate stretch of coastal highway. Once investigators uncover the couple's recent history, Quincy becomes the prime suspect. At first, he cooperates with lead state investigator, Carlton Kincaid, and his team. But as the hours tick by, without any tangible clues or demands from the kidnapper, the usually cool and detached profiler finds himself quickly unraveling. He more than anyone understands the psyche of the serial killer - the fact that the woman he loves more than life itself has been snatched by just such a monster pushes him closer and closer toward his own personal breaking point.

His only solace is the arrival of Quincy's daughter Kimberly and her partner Mac, both up-and-coming FBI investigators. Circumventing procedure is the least of their worries as the three of them follow their own agenda in a race to find Rainie before the killer's deadline runs out. She, meanwhile, is fighting her own battle with her anonymous kidnapper. His odd demands and his intimate knowledge of her past only set the stakes higher. When her tormentor grabs the young boy Rainie has been helping, she realizes that this is no longer just about her. Determined to keep Dougie alive at all costs, the smart, fearless and resourceful police detective she once was re-surfaces and begins fighting back with a vengeance.

Lisa Gardner ranks high as one of the best thriller writers around. Her ability to examine every aspect of the lives of her troubled characters is top notch, as is her talent for presenting breathtaking suspense filled with twists, turns and eye-popping surprises. Meticulous research into police procedure only adds to the overall payoff. This time though, I found the continuous bickering between various law enforcement agencies too drawn out. The ongoing feuds between state law enforcement and the feebies (FBI) isn't a new plot device, and Gardner was somewhat heavy-handed with it. As a whole though, Gone hits all the right notes and leaves plenty of unresolved issues between Rainie and Quincy. Let's hope they still have a few stories left to tell.

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