Monday, March 11, 2019

Review - Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner was my first favorite author, her first thriller, The Perfect Husband still gives me the chills and an autographed copy of it sits in pride of place in my bookshelf. I have loved everything she's written both stand alone and series and I absolutely love how a previous character will have a cameo in a current book. So when Library Journal asked me to review Never Tell, Lisa's latest DD Warren novel I said Yes Please!
Enjoy the showcase and my review courtesy of LJ!


ISBN-13: 9781524742089
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: 2-19-2019
Length: 416pp
Source: Library Journal for Review
DD Warren #10
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


ADD TO:  GOODREADS

Overview:

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman – Evie Carter – from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim – a hostage – and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?




Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1
EVIE
By the time I pull my car into the garage, my hands are shaking
on the wheel. I tell myself I have no reason to feel so nervous. I
tell myself I’ve done nothing wrong. I still sit there an extra beat,
staring straight ahead, as if some magic answer to the mess that is
my life will appear in the windshield.
It doesn’t.
With a bit of care, I can still slide out of the driver’s seat. I’m bigger, but not that much bigger. I fight more with my bulky coat, the
strap of my oversized purse, as I ease out from behind the steering
wheel. Conrad bought me the purse as a Christmas gift last year.
From Coach. Real leather. At least a couple of hundred dollars. At
the time, I’d been so excited I’d thrown my arms around him and
squealed. He’d laughed, told me he’d seen me eyeing the bag in the
store and had just known he had to get it for me.
When I’d hugged him then, he’d hugged me back. When I’d
laughed that day, and giddily opened up the huge, gray leather bag
to explore all the compartments, he’d laughed with me.
2 LISA GARDNER
Christmas morning. Nearly one year ago.
Had we hugged since? Laughed since?
The bulge in my belly would argue we’d found some way to connect, and yet, if not for the streams of bright colored lights and
gaudy decorations covering my neighborhood, I’m not sure it would
feel like the holidays at all. As it is, we’re one of the last undecorated
houses on the block. A wreath on our door; that’s it. Each weekend
we promised to get a tree. Each weekend, we didn’t.
I take my time hefting my purse over my shoulder. Then I turn
and face the door leading from the garage into the house.
Dead man walking, I think. And something crumples inside me.
I don’t cry. But I’m not sure why.
The door is open. Cracked slightly. As if on the way out, I didn’t
pull it hard enough shut. Letting out all the heat, my father would
say, which causes me a fresh pang of pain.
I push through the interior door, close it firmly behind me. That’s
it. I’m home. Standing in the mudroom. Another day done. Another
night to begin.
Hang up the purse. Shrug out of the coat. Ease off the boots. Bag
on the bench. Jacket on the coat rack. Shoes on the mat. I fish my
cell phone out of my bag and set it up on the side table to charge.
Then, I take a final moment.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Listening for him.
The kitchen? He could be sitting at the table. Waiting in front of
a cold dinner. Or pointedly taking the last bite. Or maybe he’s
moved into the family room, ensconced in his recliner, feet up, beer
in hand, eyes glued to ESPN. Sunday is football. Go Patriots. I’ve
lived in Boston long enough to know that much. But Tuesday night?
I never got into sports. He’d w
NEVER TELL 3
I don’t hear the clinking of silverware from the kitchen. Nor the
low rumble of TV from the family room.
Door open, I remember. And my left hand flattens on the relatively small, but noticeable, curve of my belly.
The hall leads me to the kitchen. A spindly table sits in front of
the back window. No sign of dinner. But then I notice a rinsed plate
lying neatly in the sink.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
I should have a story, I think. An excuse. A lie. Something. But in
the growing silence, my thoughts churn more, my brain spinning
wildly.
Dead man walking. Dead woman walking?
I’m going to vomit. I can blame it on the baby. You can blame
anything on pregnancy. I’m sick, I’m tired, I’m stupid, I lost track of
time. Baby brain, pregnancy hormones. For nine whole months,
nothing has to be my fault. And yet . . .
Why did I come home tonight? Except, of course, where else do I
have to go? Ever since I first met Conrad ten years ago . . . He noticed me. He saw me. He forgave me.
And I loved him.
Ten whole years, I have loved him.
I leave the kitchen. It’s small and, like the rest of the 1950s house,
still in desperate need of updating. We purchased the place with
hope and aspiration. Sure it sat on a postage stamp yard, and each
room was tinier than the last, but it was ours. And being young and
handy, we’d fix it up, open it up, then sell it for oodles of money.
Now I walk down a narrow hallway where half the wallpaper
hangs down in pieces, and do my best not to notice.
Family room. Den, really. With Conrad’s beloved La- Z- Boy, a
modest sofa, and of course, an enormous flat- screen TV. The recliner is empty. The TV is off. The room is empty.
Door open, I remember again.
4 LISA GARDNER
Our garage fits only a single vehicle, and even that is a perk in a
Boston neighborhood. Conrad parks his Jeep on the street. Which I
check now. Because I’d spotted it pulling into the driveway and, yes,
there it is. Black Jeep. Situated at the curb straight outside. A prime
spot I can already imagine he was thrilled to get, as even with parking permits there’s more demand than supply. Hence his kindness in
giving me the garage.
It’s okay, honey. I don’t want you walking down the street alone
at night. I like knowing that you’re safe.
Dead woman walking. Dea
NEVER TELL 5
ments, a hundred precious memories. That day, watching his hands
close around mine. Strong fingers, seamed with calluses. Steady, as
they took the pregnancy stick away from me, held it closer to him.
I had that surreal feeling I sometimes get. Where I’m not present
in my own life, but even all these years later, standing in my parents’
kitchen again. Holding the shotgun. Smelling all that blood.
And Conrad, being Conrad, looked right at me. Looked right
into me.
“Evie,” he said. “You deserve this. We deserve this.”
I loved him again. Just like that. In that moment, I adored him.
We held hands. He cried. Then I had to pull away to vomit for real,
but that made us both laugh, and afterward he’d wiped my face with
a washcloth and I’d let him.
A thousand moments. A hundred memories.
That pain again, deep inside me, as I lean heavily against the
wall, away from the bannister I no longer trust, and work my way
up the narrow staircase.
Smell.
The odor hits me hard now. Nothing faint, teasing, ambiguous.
This is it. Had I known all along? Turning into the drive? Pulling
into the garage? The interior door open, open, open.
What had my subconscious suspected, long before the rest of me
had paid attention?
Upstairs, not the bedroom, but the second tiny room, Conrad’s
office, looms to the left. That door is open, too.
Sounds to go with the smell. Sirens. Down the street. Growing
louder. Coming closer. But of course.
My parents’ kitchen.
My husband’s office.
Blood.
Dark, viscous. A spray. A pool.
6 LISA GARDNER
I can’t help myself. I’m sixteen. I’m thirty- two. I reach out. I
touch the spot closest to me. I smear the red across my fingertip. I
watch the way it fills in the whorls of my fingerprints.
My father. My husband.
Blood.
More noise. Banging. So far away. Shouts and demands and orders.
But up here, none of it matters. There is just me and this final
moment with Conrad. His body fallen back into the desk chair, the
back of his head sprayed on the wall behind him.
I fear what I will see on the computer screen before I even look.
But I force myself to do it. Take it in. Register the images. This is my
husband’s computer. This is what my husband was looking at before
he died.
Harder banging now. The police. Responding to reports of shots
fired. They will not be denied.
“It was an accident,” my mother whispers urgently in my ear.
“Nothing but an unfortunate accident.”
I reach over to the computer. I close out the images. Then, because I have enough experience to know it won’t be enough, I pick
up the gun from my husband’s lifeless hand. I curl my palm around
the checkered grip. I slip my finger into the cold trigger guard.
And I start shooting.
When the police finally burst through the door, I stand at the top
of the stairs, both hands up, gun in plain view, while turning slightly
so that the curve of my stomach can’t be denied.
“Drop the weapon, drop the weapon, drop the weapon!” the first
officer shouts from the base of the stairs.
I do.
He scrambles up the stairs, cuffs in hands. I hope for his own
sake that he doesn’t stumble against the bannister.
NEVER TELL 7
A marriage is a mosaic. A thousand moments. A hundred memories.
The officer twists my arms behind my back. He cuffs my wrists
tight, pats me down as if expecting even more weapons, as more
uniforms pour through the door.
“My husband,” I hear myself say. “He’s been shot. He’s dead.”
“Ma’am, is there anyone else present?”
“No.”
A thousand moments. A hundred memories.
“Ma’am, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say
can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the
right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during
any questioning.”
The officer escorts me down the stairs, out of the house, away
from my husband’s body.
“Do you think I’ll be allowed to plan the funeral?” I ask him.
He looks at me funny, then deposits me in the back of the patrol
car on a hard plastic bench seat.
More cops. More sirens. The neighbors appearing to watch the
show. I know what will come next. The trip to the police station.
Where my hands will be swabbed for blood, tested for GSR. Fingerprinting. Processing.
Then, when my past appears on the computer screen . . .
“An accident,” my mother whispers again in the back of my
mind. “Nothing but an unfortunate accident.”
I can’t help myself; I shudder.
She will come for me now, I think. And because of that, as much
as anything else, I curl my hands around my belly and tell my baby,
this fragile, fluttery life that hasn’t even had a chance yet, how sorry
I truly am.
CHAPTER 2
D.D.
Okay. Just like we’ve done before. I’ll head straight. Alex will
cut left. Jack, you ready?”
Jack nodded. Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren took a steadying
breath. Three of them. One target. How badly could things go
wrong?
First step forward. Light tread, heel, toe, designed not to make a
sound. Alex utilized the same strategy, heading sideways to intercept the line of retreat. They’d done this enough times to know that
silence was the key. Alert their opponent too early, and that was it.
She was both faster and— D.D. was beginning to suspect— smarter
than the three of them put together.
Which made the situation particularly dire, given that it was
D.D.’s favorite black leather boot at stake.
She eased into the dining room, where Kiko had wisely retreated
beneath the table with her prize. So far, the best spotted dog in all
the land was lying contentedly on the rug, chewing on the heel of
D.D.’s shoe, as D.D. and Alex made their circular approach.
NEVER TELL 9
Five- year- old Jack had taken up position in the family room. His
job: catch Kiko when she inevitably bolted from beneath the cherrywood table. They expected the dog would run toward Jack, her partner in crime. The two adults of the household, on the other hand . . .
A floorboard creaked beneath D.D.’s foot. She froze. Kiko
looked up.
Time stood still. Detective and dog locked eyes, D.D. wearing
one boot, Kiko holding the second between her paws.
Alex appeared in the left- hand doorway of the dining room.
“Kiko! Release! Bad dog!”
Kiko grabbed the boot in her mouth and ran for it.
D.D. lunged to the right. An act of desperation, and she and the
dog both knew it. Kiko, a Dalmatian– German shorthaired pointer
mix who was all long legs and high energy, dodged the move effortlessly. Alex came charging from behind.
Kiko galloped straight for Jack, who cried out in boyish delight,
“Roo, roo, roo!” right before he tossed Kiko’s favorite toy straight
up into the air.
True to form, Kiko dropped the boot and leapt up for her stuffed
hippo.
D.D. snatched her boot. Kiko caught her toy. Then Kiko and Jack
were off, tearing around the family room in a whirlwind of puppyboy energy.
“Damage?” Alex asked, coming to a halt beside her. He was still
trying to catch his breath. For that matter, so was D.D.
She inspected her boot. The bottom of the heel showed signs of
chewing. But the leather upper was still intact.
“You gotta remember to put them in the closet,” Alex said, eyeing the teeth marks.
“I know.”
“She’s going to grow out of it, but not overnight.”
“I know!”
10 LISA GARDNER
“So who do you think is going to take longer to train, her or you?”
D.D. growled at her husband. He grinned back.
“Roo, roo, roo!” Jack added from across the room. He was now
standing on the sofa, springing up and down on the cushions, while
Kiko matched him jump for jump from the floor. It had been Alex
and Jack’s idea to adopt a dog from the local humane society. D.D.,
as sergeant detective of Boston homicide, had argued they weren’t
home enough. To which Alex had ruthlessly replied that she wasn’t
home enough. His job teaching crime scene analysis at the academy
had set hours, and Jack’s schedule as a kindergartener was hardly
grueling. A boy needs a dog, he’d told her.
Which, from what D.D. could tell, seemed to be true. Because
God knows Jack and Kiko were already inseparable. The black- andwhite- spotted one- year- old pup slept in Jack’s bed. Sat next to his
feet at the kitchen table. And did everything the boy did, from leaping across the furniture to racing around the yard.
D.D.’s son was happy. Her husband was happy. In the end, a
chewed boot heel seemed a small price to pay. That said, Kiko and
Jack were now racing laps around the room.
“I gotta get to work,” D.D. said.
“Take me with you,” Alex tried.
“And rob you of this magic moment?”
“Pretty please?”
“Sorry.” D.D. was already sliding on her damaged boot. “Wife
shot and killed her husband last night. She’s been arrested, but I
want to check out the crime scene. Clearly, you’d be biased.”
“Woman’s already been charged,” Alex asked, “and you still
need to visit the scene?” Following an on- the- job injury two years
ago, D.D. had been moved to a supervisory position in homicide. As
her fellow detectives would attest— and Alex would agree— D.D.
took a much more hands- on approach with her management style
than was strictly necessary.
NEVER TELL 11
“I have a personal interest in this one.” D.D. made it to the front
door, eyed the crystalline sheen to the half- frozen ground outside,
and grabbed her black wool coat. A month ago, the air had been
crisp but the sun warm. And now this. Welcome to New England.
D.D. spared the twin racing streaks of her son and dog a second
glance from the entryway, and despite the chaos— no, because of the
chaos— felt the corresponding warmth in her chest. “They really do
love each other.”
“Heaven help us,” Alex agreed. He stood close. They’d just had
four whole days off together, a rare treat. As always, they both now
felt the pull and pang of D.D.’s demanding job. Alex had always respected D.D.’s workaholic ways. But there were times, even for her,
when disappearing down the rabbit hole that was a homicide investigation became difficult. Especially lately.
“Why is this case personal?” Alex asked.
D.D. buttoned her coat. “The woman in question, Evelyn Carter,
née Hopkins, I investigated her for murder once before.”
“She killed a husband before this one?”
“Nope. She ‘accidentally’ shot her father. But, seriously, how
many shootings can one woman be involved with?”
Alex nodded sagely. “You’re going to get her this time.”
D.D. smiled, stepped into her husband’s embrace for a quick kiss,
then waved goodbye to her crazy kid and dog. “Totally.”
Evelyn Carter and her husband, Conrad, lived in Winthrop, one
of the smallest and oldest towns in Massachusetts. Dating back to
1630 and positioned on a peninsula just miles from Logan Airport,
the area offered views of the Atlantic for the lucky, and up- closeand- personal contact with densely packed homes for everyone else.
The Carters’ residence was located on a street of modest, distinctly
1950s Colonials that had probably once been strictly working- class.
Now, given property values in Boston, especially this close to the
waterfront, God only knew. As it was, D.D. was surprised to see so
12 LISA GARDNER
many of the original homes intact. These days, it felt like every
neighborhood in Boston was being gentrified, developers coming in,
razing the old, and replacing it with bigger and better. Personally,
D.D. preferred a little character in a home, but then again, on a detective’s salary she wouldn’t be living in any of these neighborhoods
anytime soon.
Her former squad mate and onetime mentor Phil had contacted
her first thing this morning to fill her in on the shooting. Pretty
straightforward case, in his opinion. Neighbors had called in reports of shots fired. Uniformed officers had responded to find the
wife standing at the top of the stairs, gun still in hand. She had surrendered without incident and been taken to the South Bay House of
Correction.
Pregnant, Phil had added. Far enough along to be noticeable,
while not yet huge.
D.D. couldn’t yet picture that. The Evie Hopkins she had known
had been a sixteen- year- old girl. Thin, dirty- blond hair, huge, doelike brown eyes as she’d sat at the kitchen table, mere feet from her
father’s blood- soaked body, shaking uncontrollably.
She hadn’t cried. D.D., a new detective back then, had thought
that odd. But there’d been something to the girl’s flat expression,
combined with her hard tremors, that had been compelling. Shock.
A sort of delayed reaction to grief that made D.D. believe the girl
was honestly in pain, only of such an extreme magnitude she
couldn’t comprehend it.
They hadn’t been able to get her out of the kitchen and down to
the station for proper processing. At the time, it hadn’t seemed such
a big deal. Evie, covered in blood, hadn’t denied anything. The gun
had gone off. Yes, she’d shot and killed her father.
And now her legs didn’t seem to work. She couldn’t stand, move.
Short of physically picking her up, D.D. and her partner, an older
NEVER TELL 13
detective, Gary Speirs, couldn’t get the girl out of the kitchen. Speirs
had made the judgment call not to push it. He’d been afraid the girl
would give over to hysterics, ending their interview once and for all.
So they’d all sat feet from the body, the spattered cabinets, the
smeared refrigerator.
The mom had stayed in the front room. An actual parlor, which
D.D. had found strangely mesmerizing. She’d heard of such things,
but to actually see one . . . The Hopkinses lived in a beautiful historic Colonial in Cambridge, as befitting the father’s position as a
Harvard professor. Perfectly tended, everything in its place. Except,
of course, for the crime scene in the kitchen.
Had it biased D.D. at the time? The upper- class home? The wellgroomed mom? The obviously shell- shocked sixteen- year- old suspect, her thin shoulders shaking?
The mom, interviewed separately in the front parlor, had corroborated everything her daughter had reported. The shotgun had been
a recent purchase given a rash of break- ins in the area. The father
had been showing it to his daughter. She’d picked it up, was trying
to figure out how to clear the chamber, when the gun had gone off,
blasting her father in the chest from mere inches away. A tragic accident. Follow- up interviews revealed no reports of any ongoing rancor between the father and daughter. In fact, the entire family was
described as good people, great neighbors. The daughter a gifted
pianist. The wife active with literacy causes and aid for battered
women. As cases went, it wasn’t even one D.D. had wondered about
in all the years since.
Now this.
Yellow crime scene tape roped off the front yard. Several open
parking spaces had been secured, probably for the detectives who’d
worked most of the night before finally taking off for home in the
hours since. Only two official vehicles remained.
14 LISA GARDNER
All in all, the house appeared quiet. No neighbors lurking outside. No crime scene techs bustling about or uniformed officers
working the street. As Phil had said, a straightforward case. A man
had been shot and killed. His wife was now sitting in county jail.
D.D. got out of her vehicle. She approached the front door, noting the splintered frame and skewed Christmas wreath. The police
had had to force their way in. Interesting.
She entered. Like a lot of the homes hastily constructed postwar
to accommodate the boom in young families, the house had a simple
layout. Narrow staircase leading straight up against the wall to the
left. Front- facing family room to the right. Tight hallway leading to
a modest eat- in kitchen. Downstairs bath to the right. Mudroom
area and garage access off the kitchen to the left.
The kitchen showed signs of recent updating. Fresh- painted palegray cabinets. New, solid- surface dark- flecked countertops. Stainless steel appliances. The hallway, on the other hand, with its ripped
yellow wallpaper and scuffed wooden floors, was deeply in need
of care.
Clearly a fixer- upper, though given modern tastes for open- area
living, a tough one at that. Had the Carters been doing the work
themselves?
Had they already started in on the nursery?
D.D. found herself with her hand resting on her belly. Hastily,
she dropped it. Lately, she’d been thinking too much about the days
she’d been pregnant with Jack. A child she’d never expected to have.
Her greatest miracle and deepest love. Usually . . .
“Hey, there you are.”
D.D. turned to find Detective Carol Manley standing in the hallway behind her. The petite investigator, just over five feet tall and
barely a hundred pounds soaking wet, had taken D.D.’s place on her
squad after D.D.’s injury. Manley was a perfectly good detective.
NEVER TELL 15
Both Phil and Neil seemed to like her and accept her as part of their
three- person team. D.D., on the other hand, still didn’t trust any
cop named Carol.
Completely unreasonable, but there it was.
Now D.D. carefully schooled her features and reminded herself
that part of her job was to play well with others. It was the part of
her job she was worst at, but hey.
“Body was found upstairs,” Carol was saying now. “Looks like
she shot him sitting at his desk. Then shot up his laptop as well.”
“Do we know motive?” D.D. fell in step behind Carol as the
woman headed for the stairs.
“Wife isn’t talking. Phil said you knew her.”
“I questioned her regarding another shooting sixteen years ago.
That one was ruled accidental. Though now I wonder.”
“Watch the bannister,” Carol commented as she headed up. “It’s
pretty loose. One of those things they must not have gotten around
to fixing yet.”
D.D. gave the wooden bannister an experimental shake; yep, it
was definitely less than stable. “Don’t suppose murder weapon was
a shotgun?” D.D. asked.
“Nah. Sig Sauer P- two- two- six, registered to the vic, Conrad
Carter. Looks like he kept the nine- mil in the top drawer of his
nightstand.”
“Where anyone could grab it.”
“Ah, but the ammo was in a shoebox in the closet.”
“Because clearly that provides security. Love ‘smart’ gun owners.”
“And yet where would our job be without them?”
D.D. conceded the point. They arrived at the top. The landing
was tiny. Only three doors to pick from. Two bedrooms and a bath,
most likely. But D.D. didn’t need to inspect all three to find the scene
of the crime. Smell directed her enough.
16 LISA GARDNER
Conrad had converted the smaller bedroom into a personal office. Massive executive- style black leather chair, the back now
smeared with dark splotches of gore. A wall of waist- high laminate
filing cabinets, covered in piles of paperwork and stacks of what
appeared to be catalogues. Across from the filing cabinets, the room
held a massive oak desk, currently riddled with enough bullet holes
and metallic rubble to qualify it as a war vet.
Small space, D.D. thought, huge carnage. Clearly, the wife hadn’t
been messing around.
“The remains of the laptop?” D.D. asked, gesturing to the debrisstrewn desk.
“Yep. Techs have it. Woman closed it up, then emptied her clip
into it. Not a huge target, meaning our gal knew what she was
doing.”
“What do the techs think?”
“They need time to take the laptop apart and inspect the damage. There’s a lot going on inside a laptop— battery, RAM, motherboard, Wi- Fi card, hard drive, thin hard drive, et cetera. So lots of
things to hit, but in theory, also some things that could’ve been
missed. Unfortunately, a dozen forty- caliber rounds to a target that
small . . .”
D.D. arched a brow. “How many bullets to the husband?”
“Three.”
The Sig P226 held fifteen rounds. Meaning: “Three to the husband, twelve into the computer? If we view the laptop as a second
victim, certainly seems she hated the computer more.”
“Or was a woman with something to hide.”
“Trying to eradicate something on the laptop,” D.D. followed.
“Do we know if it was strictly the husband’s computer, or did both
of them share it?”
“Don’t know.”
NEVER TELL 17
“And she didn’t say anything to the police when they arrived? No
‘I had to do it,’ ‘he started it,’ ‘the voices in my head . . . ’ Anything?”
“She wanted to know if she could plan her husband’s funeral.”
D.D. shook her head. “What about her demeanor? Did the arresting officer describe her as appearing shocky, grief- stricken, relieved?”
“Calm and cooperative. Allowed herself to be cuffed and led
to the patrol car. Was taken to the station and charged without incident.”
D.D. frowned, still not sure what to think. She studied the bloodsmeared chair, the spatter across the far wall. “What did the husband do?”
“Sales. Worked for one of those custom window companies.”
Carol pointed to the pile of catalogues on the filing cabinets. “According to the neighbors, he was on the road a fair amount, spec’cing
out jobs, that sort of thing. But when he wasn’t traveling, he worked
out of this office.”
“The contents of the filing cabinets?”
“Phil went through them. Seem to be customer files. Nothing out
of the ordinary.”
D.D. nodded, returned to studying the damage. She should’ve
brought Alex, she thought. This was how they’d met, analyzing
spat ter at the scene of a brutal family annihilation. What did it
say about her life that studying a crime scene made her miss her
husband?
“And Evie?” D.D. asked. “Her occupation?”
“Evelyn? She teaches algebra at the local high school.”
D.D. had to smile. “Her father was a prof at Harvard. Some kind
of mathematical genius who taught classes where the names alone
hurt my head.”
18 LISA GARDNER
“She’s pregnant. Five months along.”
“Were they close to their neighbors? Get any good dirt?”
Carol shrugged. “People on the block had nothing bad to report.
Couple bought the house four years ago. Been working on fixing it
up as time allowed. Apparently in the summer, Evelyn liked to work
in the yard. She’d wave when neighbors walked by but wasn’t exactly the chatty sort. Quiet was the word people used a lot. Conrad,
on the other hand, was the social half of the pair. Much more likely
to stop, hold court. But then again, uniforms couldn’t find any
neighbors who’d been invited over for dinners, barbecues, drinks,
whatever. Neighbors didn’t seem to take it personally as much as
there was an assumption the Carters were a young, busy couple.”
“So by all appearances, a happy couple?”
“No reports of domestic disturbance calls or loud arguments.”
“And Evelyn, when she was arrested, bore no signs of a physical
confrontation between her and the husband?”
“Not a mark on her.”
“Rules out self- defense.”
“But not battered woman’s syndrome,” Carol pointed out. “Some
guys know how to hit where it doesn’t show, and if it was ongoing . . .”
“Never know what goes on behind closed doors,” D.D. agreed,
thinking of that first crime scene, the stately Cambridge Colonial,
the impeccably decorated front parlor. Again, had she, a rookie detective, let herself see only what outsiders were meant to see?
She gestured now to the gory wall before her. “Tell me about the
husband’s body. Three shots fired?”
“Two to the chest, one to the head. Torso shots lodged somewhere inside, probably ricocheted around his ribs. Head shot was a
through and through.”
Which would explain the far wall and the ongoing stench in the
room.
“Close range?” D.D. asked.
NEVER TELL 19
“We’re still working on the trajectories, but yes, stipling around
the entry wounds suggest a distance of less than two feet.”
D.D. considered the room, number of feet between the doorway
and the desk chair. “Chair had to be facing the door, right?”
“Yep.”
“No defensive wounds on his hands, any sign of a previous altercation?”
“Negative.”
“Evelyn retrieves the gun from the bedroom,” D.D. thought out
loud. “Loads it using the ammo from the closet.”
“We found the shoebox with ammo open on the bed, loose slugs
next to it.”
“Walks into the office, maybe calls her husband’s name.”
“He turns around in his chair,” Carol filled in.
“She steps closer, opens fire. Quick. Has to be, for him to never
even get a hand up. Just, ‘hey, honey,’ then, boom, boom, boom.”
“Or, ‘you bastard,’ boom, boom, boom.”
“Something like that,” D.D. agreed. “Three shots. Enough to
make sure she definitely got the job done, but not so much that it’s a
crime of passion. That, she saved for the laptop.” D.D. frowned. “I’d
really like to know what was on that computer.”
Carol shrugged. “What would motivate a wife to kill her husband? Porn? E- mails from a girlfriend? Online gambling addiction?
Plenty of things out there that would justify shooting up a husband
and his laptop. Hell, maybe he was just that into video games, or she
was just that hormonal from her pregnancy.”
D.D. gave the childless detective a look. “If pregnancy hormones
led to homicide, there wouldn’t be a husband left alive. Plus, you
said it yourself. Evelyn knew what she was doing during the shooting, and she was calm and cooperative afterwards. That’s not a
woman on a rampage. There’s something else going on here. Something more.”
20 LISA GARDNER
“How’d she look sixteen years ago?” Carol asked.
“Young and traumatized. I’m surprised, given that tragedy, she’d
allow a gun in her home. You’d think she’d want to stay as far away
from firearms as possible. And yet . . .” She glanced at Carol. “Two
shots to the torso, one to the head, a dozen straight into the laptop.
Even at such a close range, to never miss . . .”
“Sounds like a woman with some training,” Carol agreed.
“Maybe the ol’ face- your- fears sort of thing? After the last shooting,
she wanted to make sure she never had an ‘accident’ ever again.
Took some classes, joined a local firing range?”
“Definitely worth pursuing. Her hands were tested for GSR?”
“Absolutely. Tested positive. Not to mention the flecks of blood
we found on her clothes, more on her hands.”
“She did this,” D.D. stated. “Evelyn Carter shot and killed her
husband.”
“Open- and- shut. Police responded to sound of shots fired. Found
her standing at the top of stairs still holding the Sig. Never even denied it.”
“The police forced their way into the house. Why?”
“They heard more gunshots.”
“But the initial call out was due to neighbors reporting gunfire.
How long did it take police to respond?”
“Eight minutes.”
D.D. tilted her head. “So fifteen shots were fired over the course
of eight minutes?” She eyed the detective.
Carol merely shrugged. “We’re still gathering facts. But my guess,
first round was Evelyn killing her husband. Second round— when
the police arrived— was Evelyn taking out the computer.”
“With a gap in between. While she was doing . . . ?”
“Who knows. Closing out files on the computer, maybe? Trying
to cover something up? Then, when she heard the sirens, realized
NEVER TELL 21
the police were closing in . . . she decided on a more definitive approach.”
It was possible, D.D. thought, but also a lot of conjecture. “Covering something up?” she murmured, more to herself than anyone.
“Or backing something up?”
“What do you mean?”
“Clearly the laptop held something significant. Did she just
want it destroyed, or was there also data she wanted to retrieve?
E- mail address of her husband’s alleged lover, I don’t know. But
eight minutes . . . It doesn’t take eight minutes to close out files or
shut down a computer. It could take eight minutes, however, to back
up desired data.
Carol nodded slowly. “All

My starred review courtesy Library Journal


Det. Sgt. D.D. Warren's latest case, a woman accused of murdering her husband, takes a macabre twist when D.D. recognizes Evie Carter as the suspect in her very first case, the 16-year-old who accidentally shot and killed her father, a renowned Harvard professor. It gets even stranger when not only this case starts unraveling but it seems the murdered husband has ties to a crime involving D.D.'s confidential informant, Flora Dane, herself a survivor of a heinous crime. Book ten in the series (after Look for Me) presents an exceptional, fast-paced, and disturbing cat-and-mouse game with superscary bad guys and dark-web dealings that will keep readers guessing until an ingenious aha moment. The complicated characters, a brilliantly convoluted connect-the-dots plot, and nonstop action all create a fantastic read; longtime fans will appreciate the costar cameo from Gardner's acclaimed "FBI Profiler" series. The author's compassion for Flora will pull heartstrings, and her portrayal of D.D. in her element fighting crime with her old teammates while remaining a loving wife and mother, is genuine. VERDICT Fans of J.T. Ellison, Hank Phillippi Ryan, contemporary crime drama, police procedurals, and psychological thrillers will devour Gardner's latest. [See Prepub Alert, 8/10/18.]—Debbie Haupt, St. Charles City-Cty. Lib. Dist., St Peters, MO

About the author:
Lisa Gardner is a #1 New York Times bestselling crime novelist. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure and twisted minds into a streak of twenty thrillers. Her latest, NEVER TELL, comes out Feb. 19 2019 and features Detective D.D. Warren joining forces with vigilante Flora Dane to investigate the murder of known associate of Flora's infamous kidnapper.

Lisa lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with two crazy pups and an ancient rescue dog. When not writing, Lisa loves to hike, play cribbage, and of course, read!


19 comments:

  1. You know I am always up for a good mystery!

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    Replies
    1. I know you are and good thing to know you can read as a stand alone

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  2. Ohh Gardner! I have yet to try her

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  3. My kind of story. Adding this to my list. Thanks, Debbie.

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  4. I've been missing out. Don't hate me, but I haven't read a Lisa Gardner yet. This series sounds good.

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    Replies
    1. wow it does surprise me but hey so many fantastic authors so little time LOL xo

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  5. Complicated characters, connect the dots plot, and non stop action does highly recommend this book! Nice to have a big fave author that has a new book out.

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  6. I really need to read more of her books. This sounds good!

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  7. She's one I've eyed in the past but not tried yet. I need to change that :)

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  8. Sounds like a pretty good story. I do love a fun mystery. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

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