Book Review

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner

IF HE NEVER LEFT THE WOODS, WHERE DID HE GO?

A young man disappears during a stag weekend in the woods. Years later, he’s still missing.

But his friends who were with him that day are still searching for him. Still hunting for answers.

They hike deep into the wilderness.

With them is missing person specialist Frankie Elkin.

What they don’t know is that they are putting their own lives in terrifying danger, and may not come back alive…


I really enjoyed Before She Disappeared – the first novel to feature missing persons specialist Frankie Elkin – and was thrilled to receive a copy of the follow up novel, One Step Too Far.

My name is Frankie Elkin and finding missing people is what I do. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never bothered to care, I start looking. For no money, no recognition, and most of the time, no help.

I absolutely adore Frankie! She is such a unique character – an everyday individual with her own crosses to bear who has found a noble if somewhat unusual calling in life.  She tracks down those who are lost or missing when all but their nearest and dearest has given up on them.  She’s not a police officer or a private investigator, she’s just a normal person with a knack for tracing those who are missing, even if it often results in finding their remains – something which still gives closure to their family and friends.  It’s a fantastic concept and I hope that we’ll see more of Frankie in the future. 

One element that I really enjoyed about One Step Too Far is that it has a very different vibe to the first novel.  Where that was set in inner-city Boston, here Frankie finds herself out in the wilds of Wyoming.  Frankie is, I think, more of a city girl, more at home pounding the streets despite the dangers that entails.  Here, she finds herself in a very different situation, keeping the series fresh but also allowing for Frankie to develop as she is forced to adapt to this new environment.   

In this novel she joins a team looking for signs of Timothy O’Day who vanished five years earlier on his stag do.  This team – assembled by Tim’s father – no longer believes him to be alive, but would like to understand what happened, particularly the groomsmen who were with him on the night he disappeared as well as Tim’s parents.  It’s a difficult mission as the team are forced to trek and camp, carrying with them everything they need to survive for a week with no contact with civilisation.  It’s tough going, and pushes Frankie (and others) to their limits.  And it’s not all plain sailing, as it seems as though someone doesn’t want them to discover what happened to Tim as their food supplies are sabotaged.  It makes for a tense, action-packed read as things go from bad to worse for the crew.  While this may not appeal to everyone, for me, the novel almost strayed into horror territory – not from a supernatural perspective – but in the way that the team appear to be hunted by assailants unknown. 

While I liked Before She Disappeared, I LOVED One Step Too Far.  It’s a fantastic series and something truly original that Lisa Gardner has come up with.  I really hope that we haven’t seen the last of Frankie, and that perhaps she can start to make peace with some of her demons. 


One Step Too Far is published today (20 January) by Century.  Huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy for the advance copy.

Disclaimer – I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.

5 comments

    1. Thank you, Nicki! They’re both great, but this one stood out for the atmosphere and unusual setting x

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