Sunday, January 08, 2012

Live to Tell, Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner writes psychological thrillers that show some of the darkest places that the human mind can go.  Most of her novels, whether stand alone or part of her D.D. Warren series, explore the complicated relationships we often have with our parents, spouses, or children.  Live to Tell is no exception.  In this fast paced, fairly creepy thriller, D.D. Warren and her team are called in to investigate the apparent murder/suicide of a family of five.  However, there are things about the scene that don't add up, and it soon becomes apparent that what was staged to look like a family annihilation was in fact the cold-blooded murder of a happy couple and their children.  When another family is killed in a similar way, D.D. knows that they are looking for someone truly disturbed, who appears to be reenacting a family annihilation from the past.  Tying all of the victims together is a child psych unit for the most acute cases-children who have psychoses so severe that they are a real danger to themselves and their families.  Danielle Burton, one of the psychiatric nurses, was the lone survivor of a family annihilation herself, and soon D. D. come to believe that she may be the key to solving the whole  case.

A word to the wise-this book is not for the faint of heart.  The description of he troubled children and the things they are capable of was chilling.  As horrific as the crimes themselves were, reading about a little boy who is so cunning and violent that he lies in wait for his mother in order to follow through on his threat to kill her was worse.  But the setting of the locked children's psych ward was fascinating, and the mystery itself had enough twists and turns that there is more than the slightly creepy draw of the psychotic children.   This popcorn comes with a side of crazy, but it is an enjoyable ride nonetheless.

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