BWW Review: LOVE YOU MORE by Lisa Gardner
How far would you go to protect what's most important in your life? That's the question at the heart of Lisa Gardner's LOVE YOU MORE. I've never read anything by Gardner before, but the novel's synopsis caught my attention right away:
WHO DO YOU LOVE?
One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defense, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter?
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO . . .
As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge to break through the blue wall of police brotherhood, seeking to understand the inner workings of a trooper's mind while also unearthing family secrets. Would a trained police officer truly shoot her own husband? And would a mother harm her own child?
. . . TO SAVE HER?
For Tessa Leoni, the worst has not yet happened. She is walking a tightrope, with nowhere to turn, no one to trust, as the clock ticks down to a terrifying deadline. She has one goal in sight, and she will use every ounce of her training, every trick at her disposal, to do what must be done. No sacrifice is too great, no action unthinkable. A mother knows who she loves. And all others will be made to pay.
Love you more . . .
I normally don't include summaries in my reviews, but did this time since the back cover is more riveting than anything I could come up with. Besides, if I gave you any more of a summary than that, I'd be giving too much away. LOVE YOU MORE is one of those books. I don't read a lot of crime novels or watch shows such as NCIS, so perhaps parts of this novel have followed various stereotypes. I wouldn't know. For me, the novel was taut with suspense. It was hard to tell when to discard information as a red herring and when to file it away because it's important. There was one small sentence that I noticed and put in the back of my mind, but figured it probably wasn't as important as it seemed. I should have trusted my instincts the first time around.
LOVE YOU MORE was full of characterization when you look back on it as a whole, but a little frustrating as you're reading. Information comes in trickles, which is a great way to build suspense, but frustrating when trying to connect emotionally to your main characters. It's just not the style I'm used to enjoying, though absolutely appropriate for a psychological thriller. By the end, I knew more about Tessa Leoni than I did homicide detective D.D.Warren. Then again, this makes sense. This is the fifth book featuring the good detective, with more to come. It's also the first book in the Tessa Leoni series, so you get two series for the price of one in this book! Gardner even states in her author's note that while it's good to re-visit old characters, she'd rather focus on introducing readers to new ones. How much time has passed between books four and five of the Detective D.D. Warren series, I don't know. There are some loose threads still hanging in D.D.'s life by the novel's end, making it a safe bet that readers will pick up the next book in her series to see what happens. Tessa Leoni, on the other hand, has a full character arc. There are definitely parts I went back to and re-read while in the midst of reading as more information began to come together and make sense.
All in all, I did ultimately enjoy LOVE YOU MORE. It was like spending a couple of hours watching a thrilling, adrenaline-filled movie. Too much isn't good for you and there isn't as much replay value once you have all the pieces, but that doesn't mean you can't have a rip-roaring good time in the process. I especially enjoyed the fact that this book stood on its own, with no need to have read the four novels preceding it. Anything that was essential, Gardner revealed in a way that was easy on new readers. If you like thrillers or crime novels that give in-depth looks into the lives of the officers protecting our streets and families, this is one you won't want to miss. Maybe even if you don't tend to read this type of book. I don't, but I couldn't help myself-I read the whole thing in one sitting because I had to get to the heart of the matter and discover the truth along with everyone else involved.