Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

Catch Me is the first book by Lisa Gardner that I’ve ever read and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed it. The author has a unique way of carrying away the reader into the dangerous worlds of her own creation and of misleading him and, of course, of making him feel a kind of sentimental bond with her heroes, or rather her heroines.
     I say Heroines, because it is indeed the women who rule the day in this well-crafted thriller: Detective D.D. Warren, her younger and overeager colleague Detective O and Charlene Rosalind Carter Grand, who’s supposed to die in four days time. D.D. used to declare with pride that nothing, absolutely nothing, could ever surprise her, but as Charlene narrates her story, as she explains to her that she’s bound to be murdered on the 21st of January at 8.00 PM, just like her best friends were, during the last couple of years, she’ll start to question herself and all her certainties. The woman even describes to her the way of the murder, strangulation, and she even points out that during the investigation that will follow they will find no defensive wounds on her body and no forensic evidence whatsoever.
     D.D., at the very beginning, when this short and seemingly weak woman approaches her with her story, and pleads with her to investigate her future murder, thinks that she’s crazy, but her curiosity takes over and so she decides to take a look into the case. The more she investigates though, the more she finds out, and thus little by little she comes to believe what the woman told her was the truth.
     However, her time these days is very limited and no matter how much she’d like to spend more of it on this case, it’s impossible to do so. On the one hand she has another open investigation concerning a serial killer that only targets pedophiles, and on the other she’s expecting her parents to arrive in Boston any time now, and thus make her life miserable. Truth be told, she’d rather hunt down psychos and killers, or psycho killers, day after day, than spend a single hour at the same table with her mother. It’s not that she has something against her; it’s just that the latter never stops trying to impose her own precious rules into her daughter’s life. D.D. and her partner have recently become parents and her mother believes the time has finally come for her to get married. She, however, likes her life and her relationship just the way they are, and wishes not to make things complicated.
     The story though doesn’t only speak of the relationship of D.D. and her mother, but also of that between Charlene and the woman who gave birth to her. I say it like that, because no one in his right mind would describe that woman as a mother. She was a psycho, who abused her and her sisters time and again over the years, making their short lives a living hell; a nightmare. Well, that nightmare still haunts Charlene and decades later she continues to feel guilty for the things that she’s done and for those that she was never able to. Now, as she only has four days to live she revisits the past and tries to seek there the answers to her many questions. The answers are indeed to be found there, however by the time she reaches the point of perception, it will probably be too late to do something to change the course of events.
     If one asked me what is the strong point in this novel I would say it’s the characters. The author creates masterful psychological portraits and she seems to perfectly understand the inner world of her heroines. She describes their ways of thinking and acting in detail and she paves with a light hand the way that will either lead them to salvation or to catastrophe. If there’s a weakness, I’d say that it’s the fact that the careful reader will come to realize a bit early who the perp is, but I wouldn’t say that that takes even an iota of the reading pleasure away. I’m sure that the fans of the genre will love it.

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