Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner #BookReview #BlogTour


Frankie Elkin has dedicated her life to doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has forgotten.

When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. She has found fourteen victims to date, but none yet alive. Traveling from city to city with more regrets than belongings, Frankie is drawn to a new case in Boston, and to a neighbourhood with a rough reputation.

Angelique Badeau, a local teenager and Haitian immigrant, vanished eleven months ago in the middle of the day from her high school.  No scrap of surveillance footage, no cell phone tracking;
Angelique simply disappeared.

Despite resistance from the Boston PD and the victim's wary family, Frankie starts to unpick the truth of Angelique’s disappearance and starts to discover there are those that don’t want these questions answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to find Angelique and bring her home, even if it means the next person to go missing will be herself ...

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Before She Disappeared today. Many thanks to Lisa Gardner and to Rachel Kennedy from Penguin Random House for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

Before She Disappeared is the first book I have read by Lisa Gardner but it didn't take me many pages to understand why she has legions of fans and I knew before the end of the novel that I had joined their number. The tense opening scene isn't connected to the disappearance of Angelique Badeau but it does provide us with an early insight into the turbulent mind of Frankie Elkin.
The mystery as to why Angelique has disappeared is utterly perplexing; how does a teenage girl go missing from school in a densely populated place like Boston under the ever-watching eye of the city's surveillance system? And yet she disappeared eleven months ago and the police are no closer to discovering her whereabouts. Frankie is one of a growing number of citizens who voluntarily investigate missing person cases. Her arrival in Boston immediately stirs up ill-feeling, both amongst the local law enforcement who obviously don't appreciate a layperson coming onto their patch, and in the local community of Mattapan where as a white woman she is in the minority. This neighbourhood has a large Haitian population living alongside the Black residents and as one of the poorer areas of Boston is beset with gang activity and violent crime. As a middle-aged white woman Frankie stands out like a sore thumb and yet this doesn't prevent her from conducting her single-minded search for Angelique. She has reason to be so determined too, having successfully solved the disappearance of fourteen other lost people. Unfortunately she has yet to find anybody alive and her desperate wish that this time will be different becomes increasingly apparent as the book progresses.
In truth, as much as the reasons behind Angelique's disappearance are fascinating, it's what drives Frankie that makes Before She Disappeared such a compelling novel. On the face of it, she could almost be a cliché - another alcoholic investigator trying to fill a hole in her own life. And yet, she is so fiercely real, I completely believed in her and was fascinated to understand what makes her the way she is. There are little reveals throughout the book as to how events in her past shaped her and it slowly becomes clear why she has chosen to live her solitary, lonely life. I loved that despite her apparent resilience and  the way she manages to persuade even the most belligerent people to open up to her, she isn't immune to the danger she might be in. She is often scared and her fear frequently becomes almost palpable; the scenes where she walks alone at night are particularly affecting and will resonate with anybody who has ever thought they heard footsteps behind them. She is clearly a damaged soul and seems to have chosen this perilous way of life as a punishment. She should be able to make friends easily but she keeps moving, never settling in one place, never allowing herself to make the connections she so evidently needs to truly heal herself. 
Nevertheless, she does form bonds of a sort with her boss, Stoney, co-worker, Viv and most notably the officer in charge of the case, Detective Lotham. The pair are often at odds with one another but the chemistry between them is undeniable and it's intriguing to see whether they act upon it. A word too for Frankie's irascible roommate, Piper; without giving anything away, she definitely makes her presence known...
The sense of place is evoked superbly throughout the novel ensuring issues facing areas like Mattapan, with its large, poor immigrant community are accurately reflected while still recognising the vibrant cultural identity of the neighbourhood. Likewise, the AA community and the support it provides to her is explored with empathy and understanding. 
Before She Disappeared is a gripping story about damaged people living dangerous, troubled lives but as the search for the truth about what really happened to Angelique Bateau draws to its heartstopping conclusion, it's the universal humanity of the novel which makes such an impact. Packed with tension and captivating from first to last, I hope this isn't the last we see of Frankie Elkin. Highly recommended.

Before She Disappeared is published by Century, purchasing links can be found here but please consider supporting independent bookstores whenever possible, either by ordering directly or through

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
At the tender age of twenty-seven, Lisa Gardner became an overnight success with the publication of her first thriller, The Perfect Husband. Launching to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, Lisa has since become an international bestseller of over twenty thriller novels, including the #1 NYT bestselling series, the FBI Profiler series, the Detective D.D Warren series and the Tessa Leoni series. She has had four books adapted into TV movies: At the Midnight Hour, The Perfect Husband, The Survivors Club and Hide, and has also made personal appearances on TruTV and CNN.

Her novel, The Neighbour, won Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers and the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France. She was also recognized with the Daphne du Maurier Award in 2000 for The Other Daughter. Lisa received the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers in 2017 for her work on behalf of at-risk children and the Humane Society.