Book Review – Before She Disappeared – Lisa Gardner – 2021 – Gutsy and Exciting
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – Before She Disappeared
My name is Frankie Elkin and finding missing people is what I do. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never bothered to care, I start looking. Now, I take my suitcase. Head downstairs. And then, I disappear.From Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
The above lines, in a nutshell, represents the core principle on which this novel is based. Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic, goes to AA meetings regularly, has no family to speak of, and leads a nomadic life. She dredges the internet, looking for ordinary people who have gone missing and have not been found to date and the local cops have all but given up on them. She lives out of a suitcase, travelling around the country, seeking closure for families who have almost given up hope. She’s found fourteen of them and onto her fifteenth case now…
Angelique Badeau, a fifteen year old girl of Haitian origin, went to her neighborhood school in the Mattapan area of Boston one day and was not seen again. Her schoolbag was found in some bushes on the perimeter of her school, with her clothes and cell phone inside it. It’s been eleven months since then and she’s simply vanished. A bright girl looking at a promising future for herself and her family was lost to the world. No CCTV footage or any other clue to her disappearance was found and after so many months, Boston PD has all but given up.
Frankie arrives in the neighborhood to gross mistrust and skepticism and the Boston PD also blows her off, first as a gold digger and then as some kind of opportunist. Angelique’s family also looks at her with disapproval and hostility. But Frankie is not to be deterred, she asks questions no one has asked before, goes everywhere she is not welcome, gets answers nobody’s got before. Slowly, the detectives from Boston PD come around to her persistent efforts as new leads are generated.
But obviously, all is not well. Someone has noticed Frankie’s interference and does not want the questions answered, does not want the mystery solved. In this crime-infested area, there are many creatures of the dark who may be involved and they will stop at nothing to stop Frankie and her investigation. Meanwhile, Frankie has her own demons to master, booze still calls to her, particularly when she is stressed, her past has many secrets she doesn’t let anyone know – many of them so heart-wrenching that it brings a tear to the reader’s eye, but this is her salvation – her medicine for the ills that threaten to consume her completely!
Conclusion – Book Review of Before She Disappeared
It is brilliantly written, the poignancy of damaged lives, their daily struggles with the monsters within and without, make for compulsive reading. Your emotions see-saw with that of the protagonists, for all the time you spend reading this book, your own problems somehow move to the back burner, Frankie and her compatriots fill your life too! After the emotionally draining ride that this book is, you are so much into it that when it ends, I am confident that no reader will be left with a dry eye.
Needless to say, this is massively suggested for a read. On a lighter note, there are some similarities with Jack Reacher – the rootlessness of life, no possessions to speak about, just wandering around the country bringing some positivity into some people’s lives. The language speaks with you, the events pull you in and you can’t help rolling along for the ride! Enjoy!!