before she disappeared lisa gardner
Book Review / Lisa Gardner / Reviews with Spoilers

Lisa Gardner | Before She Disappeared

before she disappeared lisa gardner

The Book

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner, 2021

The Characters

Frankie, finder of missing persons
Lotham, BPD detective
Angelique, the missing girl

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

Click here for book spoilers for Before She Disappeared
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Before She Disappeared, I suggest you turn back now.

The Ending:

Angelique and her friend Livia had been recruited by the director of the rec center to make fake IDs for Boston area college kids. When the fake ID business stopped bringing in as much money, they threatened to dispose of the girls. To protect Livia, Angelique proposed a scheme to create a fake university to sell fake student visas to allow immigrants to stay in the US. The girls were kidnapped to work full time on the project.

Once the university went live and they sold the first round of papers, the girls were no longer needed. Livia was found dead. Frankie found out that Livia’s half-brother Deke was involved. Angelique’s brother was kidnapped. Deke was shot by the other men. Frankie found him in the alley behind Angelique’s house, and he told her enough information for her to figure out who had kidnapped Angelique and Emmanuel.

Frankie got to the rec center in time to save the kids. She was shot, but recovered and left Boston for her next missing persons case.

Paul was Frankie’s former lover. He was shot and died in front of her in a hold up of a liquor store.

The Review:

I love that this book was inspired by a real-life individual. The plot of Before She Disappeared is compelling and entertaining, but this book is really driven by its characters.

Frankie is an amazing main character, with a troubled past and a knack for getting people to trust her. She may be running from a troubled past, but she is able to channel her distress into a way to do a little good in the world. I know this book is supposed to be a standalone, but I would love to see Lisa Gardner develop it into a further series about Frankie. We never really learned much about Paul or Frankie’s past, and I’d love to see more of that.

The secondary characters were amazing as well. I loved strong, silent Lotham, and poor Emmanuel who was determined to bring his sister home.

The pace was well-balanced. I wouldn’t consider this a couldn’t-put-it-down speed read, but I wasn’t ever bored by the plot. Despite being her first standalone book in years, fans of Lisa Gardner will not be disappointed.

Before She Disappeared will be available on January 19, 2021. Many thanks to Edelweiss+ and Dutton for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

before she disappeared lisa gardner

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