Monday, 2 February 2015

Review: Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner

Crash & Burn (Tessa Leoni #3) by Lisa Gardner
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publication date: February 3rd 2015
My rating:  4 stars 
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The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s latest stand-alone thriller, with a cameo by her fan-favorite character, Boston Detective D.D. Warren

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist.

Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says.

My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t.

Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead.

This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

My Thoughts:
Crash & Burn was another riveting mystery from Lisa Gardner!  As with most of her stories, I was glued to the pages as Nicky and Thomas’ mystery unraveled.

We’re thrown into Nicky’s story as she’s crawling from a wreck, bloody and injured, soaked in whiskey and screaming for a child, Vero.  Who is Vero? Where is she? These are questions that Nicky can’t even answer herself since she’s suffered three traumatic brain injuries within the last six months; the car crash, and two other separate home accidents. As we learn more about Vero, it’s apparent there are many secrets hidden in Nicky’s tangled and confused mind.  Sergeant Wyatt Foster is determined to untangle this web of confusion before Nicky has another “accident”.

Thomas, Nicky’s husband of twenty-two years seemed devoted and protective, but also tired and resigned.  He’s definitely hiding something and knows more that he’s willing to share. I was suspicious of Thomas, but at the same time I desperately hoped he had nothing to do with Nicky’s accidents. He truly seemed to love and care for Nicky.

“I dreamed the first time I saw you,” he murmurs, his voice low and husky. “I spotted you, across the proverbial crowded room. You weren’t looking at me at all. But I saw you and I…I felt I’d waited my whole life just for that moment. To find you. You consumed me, Nicky. You still do.”

 Even though Nicky’s mind would warn her against him, her body and heart drew her to him. But still, things did not add up. Fractured and terrifying memories keep coming, revealing more and more, and Nicky wants answers, but those will certainly come at a price.

“Just remember,” he says, as he moves me away from him. “The problem with asking questions is that you can’t control all the answers.”

Tessa is a clever and confident investigator, but a “lone wolf” as D.D. Warren likes to call her. I think that has started to change, especially since her relationship with Wyatt. She no longer has to shoulder things on her own. Wyatt is well suited for Tessa, with their backgrounds in law enforcement they have a lot in common.  I liked the support they gave each other both on the job and off. D.D. Warren is part of this story, and I suspect she may become more important to Tessa in the coming stories, as well. Having this support will probably become vital to Tessa, especially since her past is posing a possible problem now… I must say, I’m a little worried.

The future is unreliable, and three years later, the past can still come back to haunt you.

Crash & Burn is the third book in the Tessa Leoni series, and can be read as a stand-alone and still enjoy it. The story is centered mainly on Nicky and Thomas, Tessa and Wyatt’s current case, but you’d miss Tessa’s past, what’s formed her character, and that would be unfortunate. Tessa has many layers, and when I first “met” her in Love You More, I was impressed by her cool and calm thinking under extreme pressure. Wyatt also gets a POV and I enjoyed having his side of things.  

Lisa Gardner writes mysteries that will keep you thinking about them long after you’ve read the last page.  Disturbing, compelling, and addictive. 


  1. Gosh, I haven't read a mystery book in years! This sounds pretty intense though and I like books with memory loss themes in it so I think I would enjoy this. I'm glad this series is going strong for you, Rachel.
    Great review!

  2. I haven't read a book by Lisa Gardner. It sounds like something a Sandra Brown fan would like. ;)

  3. I am in the mood for more mystery/ thrillers and I think I need to try this author and Sandra Brown. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. First time I hear about this series, but the story definitely sounds good. I love me some some good thriller/mystery from time to time. Glad you enjoyed it, will check them out! :)

  5. This sounds very interesting! I really liked the quotes you included in your review!!

  6. Wow, I read that synopsis, and I was really blown away. After reading your review, Rachel, it definitely seems like I need to pick this one up! The mystery in this novel sounds AWESOME: completely unpredictable and really suspensful. You've got me really suspicious about this Thomas person! Based on the quotes you shared, he seems like a great guy, but if he has something to hide... I'm definitely interested to see the plot twist behind his character.

    Overall, this one sounds like a phenomenal book! I'll have to pick this series up soon. <3

  7. I've never read any of these, but this one sounds quite good. I love a nice mystery, and it's great when series books can be standalones too.

  8. I really need to have my fix of adult mystery. The last time it were James Patterson, but I've moved on from him now and his ghost writers, and I really should give Lisa Gardner a try. I think I have one of her older books here (hardback, signed, that I bought in a garage sale just for kicks). I'll give that one a try!!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  9. First off, I love the title of this one! Reminds of Jesse McCartney's song Crash and Burn that I loved as a teenager. Anyway... This sounds nice, althought not really something I would read. I'm glad you liked the book, Rachel. Nice review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts


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