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Jackie K. Cooper

Jackie K. Cooper

Posted: March 8, 2011 02:09 PM

Love You More: A Mystery Novel That Makes Sense


There is nothing better than a mystery novel that makes sense, and that is what makes Love You More by Lisa Gardner such a good read. When you get to the end of this novel and all the pieces of the puzzle have been revealed, they all make sense. They don't require any extraordinary leaps of faith, or any unnecessary assumptions; everything that is necessary to the solution of the mystery makes perfect sense and you wonder why you didn't solve it all yourself -- but you didn't.

At the heart of the story is Boston detective D.D. Warren. She takes the call concerning the death of a man named Brian Darby. He has been shot and killed by his wife, Tessa Leoni, who is a state trooper. She claims she acted in self defense and she has the injuries to support this claim. What doesn't make sense is the question of where Leoni's six-year-old daughter is.

Warren has been the hero of several of Gardner's previous novels and she is a complex and interesting character. In the investigation of this case she is partnered with Detective Bobby Dodge of the Massachusetts State Police. She and Bobby were once romantically involved, but he is now married, and she is involved with someone else. Still, their past complicates their working together.

The mystery of the book quickly arises as Tessa's story sprouts holes. Warren is convinced of her guilt but she also has some qualms about the obvious implications. Tessa is one smart lady, and Warren is aware of that, which makes the shooting and the circumstances so difficult to understand.

As the story progresses, more and more obstacles to an open-and-shut case arise. There is something off-center about the whole thing and Warren is frustrated in her inability to pinpoint just what that is. It is only in the final pages when all comes to the fore that the reader fully can see what happened and why.

This is some of Gardner's best writing to date. Her plot is amazing in its intensity and its complexity. She reveals just enough to keep the story totally interesting, but always holds back some element that is needed to crack the case. This keeps the reader hanging on every word and every act.

If you are looking for a story to keep you glued to its pages then this is the book to read. You will be unable to put this story down and will keep reading until the last page is turned. You will then close the book fully satisfied with what you have read.

Love You More is published by Bantam Books. It contains 368 pages and sells for $26.00.