I received this novel courtesy of Netgalley and wow, am I so glad I did! This was a standout novel and I'm saying it now, might be a contender for a top book of the year. The plot was incredibly interesting and I truly had no idea how it was going to play out. I read the entire book in two days, maybe even less when you factor in sleep. 

I've never read a book that centered around a plot like this... a regular person trying to help find a missing person? Layers of mystery surrounding drugs, love, teenagers, etc... there was so much happening you were never bored. You were constantly left wondering what was going to happen next, who would end up dead, who would be revealed as a suspect... it was jaw-dropping in a number of ways. 

"Before She Disappeared" was released yesterday and I cannot recommend it enough. You will fly through reading it and be hanging on Gardner's every word. 

Publisher's Summary

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will--searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim's wary family tells Frankie she's on her own--and she soon learns she's asking questions someone doesn't want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

My Thoughts

This was such an interesting plot to a book... probably one of the most interesting domestic thriller/mystery novels I've read to date. It was unique because I've never read a protagonist like Frankie and I loved the intertwined stories of the other people in Boston along with the very real-life issue of race, immigration, and low-income neighborhoods. 

Angelique is one smart cookie and the way her character is set up is truly awe-inspiring. It's wild that a teenage girl had the balls to do everything she did... also, you find out more and more about her as the novel goes on and it's just the best. She's an amazing character. 

When you find out everything that happened that led to Angelique's disappearance, it's pretty intense and not the traditional mystery plot that you expect from a novel like this. 

Frankie and her struggles with alcohol and saving people is a huge plot point and while it's interesting, it's not totally 'new'. However, what does set Frankie apart is that she isn't a detective... she's just a regular person who knows how to ask good questions, has great instincts, and a passion for finding people in a way to pay back a debt she feels she owes the world. 

All the characters in this novel were so different and brought something to the table. The writing was excellent and the character development was even better. 

This was also a story that kept unraveling... it didn't completely climax at one point, it rolled slowly toward a reveal of what happened to Angelique and why it happened. Her reveal and the reasoning did happen fast, combined with so many other reveals, I sped read through the pages because I couldn't believe everything happening. It was wild and intense and perfect.

The ending was semi-satisfactory... I love that we got the entire story of Angelique wrapped up in a bow but Frankie left me wanting more. 

I felt like there was so much more to the story that we could've gotten -- not that this wasn't bursting with plotlines and jaw-droppers but that there is so much story to tell about this small Boston town. I would like at least two more novels about the city with these characters. 

What are you reading this week?

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