I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Lisa Gardner’s When You See Me today. When You See Me is the latest novel to feature Detective D. D. Warren, alongside a few other characters who will be familiar to fans of Lisa Gardner’s earlier novels. If you are new to the author or the series, don’t let that put you off. This is the first novel I’ve read by Gardner (it won’t be my last!), and I didn’t feel as though I was missing out on the context at any point. Each character is introduced with sufficient backstory for this to work as a standalone thriller.
A body is found in the hills – but the truth still lies buried…
In a small town in the Deep South, Flora Dane is part of a task force committed to hunting down every last trace of notorious serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. As his last victim, imprisoned by Ness in a small box for over a year, she knew him better than most. Even after his death, his evil still lingers.
But this is the kind of town that doesn’t take kindly to strangers asking questions.
The kind of town where dark secrets lurk just beneath the surface.
The kind of town she might not leave alive.
When You See Me has a rich and complex plot. It begins with two hikers discovering human remains when they stray off the beaten path. Thought to be the work of the now deceased Jacob Ness, an FBI task force is assembled to unearth the remains and to identify the victim. When they find additional bodies, it becomes clear that they’ve stumbled upon something much bigger than anticipated, and they begin to ask questions around the small, picturesque town of Niche, Georgia – a popular tourist destination in the summer months – only for the inhabitants to close ranks against them. As soon as I started reading this, I couldn’t put it down. The plot takes several surprising turns as the investigation progresses, and Gardner maintains a fast pace throughout. When You See Me is a high-octane thriller with an intriguing mystery, and this is a wonderfully entertaining read.
When You See Me is told predominantly from three perspectives – D. D. Warren, FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy, and Flora Dane. I loved all three characters for quite different reasons, although D. D. was the standout character for me. I loved her no-nonsense, take no prisoners attitude as well as her determination. She’s out of her usual jurisdiction in this novel, and helping with the FBI task force given her involvement in a previous case, but I didn’t notice any special efforts at diplomacy from her. She is there to do her job, and she follows her instincts. It helps, I think, that she and Kimberly get along well, knowing that each can trust the other, perhaps removing some of the strain that seems so apparent in film and TV when different law enforcement agencies are forced to work together.
While D. D. and Kimberly give the “official” perspective on the case, I also liked seeing the novel develop from the perspective of Flora Dane, a onetime vigilante who has experienced first-hand what it is to be held captive and abused at the hands of Jacob Ness, and her insight proves invaluable. While D. D. and Kimberly came across as well-established characters, Flora’s character is developed over the course of the novel as she is forced to face her past. She’s a survivor, and tough because of her experiences, and the reader wonders whether she’ll be able to let her guard down as she comes to terms with her past and whether she will be able to thrive as well as survive.
When You See Me was published in hardback on 20 February by Century, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and is also available as an eBook. Many thanks to the publisher and Rachel Kennedy for the early review copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Make sure you check out the other bloggers taking part in the tour: