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Before She Disappeared

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten 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 missi From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten 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.


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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten 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 missi From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten 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.

30 review for Before She Disappeared

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner Frankie Elgin is a recovering alcoholic with such guilt and heartbreaking memories that she lives her life like a death wish in action. For the last ten years she has been on a one woman mission to find the missing. She has succeeded in finding sixteen missing persons, all the cases that she has taken on, and she has no plans to stop looking for more missing people as long as she is alive. Frankie has no home, no friends, no possessions other than what she c Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner Frankie Elgin is a recovering alcoholic with such guilt and heartbreaking memories that she lives her life like a death wish in action. For the last ten years she has been on a one woman mission to find the missing. She has succeeded in finding sixteen missing persons, all the cases that she has taken on, and she has no plans to stop looking for more missing people as long as she is alive. Frankie has no home, no friends, no possessions other than what she can carry in a bag and she has no plans to ever change that fact. Nothing is going to hold her down and no one is going to tell her what to do. Frankie's latest case brings her to Mattapan, a Haitian Boston neighborhood where she stands out in every way possible, including the fact that she goes walking around at night, a middle aged, white woman drawing attention to herself by her very existence, in this neighborhood who doesn't want her there. But often, people will talk to Frankie when they won't talk to law enforcement and Frankie makes quick inroads on the case of missing sixteen year old Angelique Badeau. Frankie is going to find out what happened to Angelique or die trying. I became fond of many of the side characters in this story and would love for there to be another one featuring Frankie and this neighborhood but Frankie isn't likely to allow such a thing because any attempt to grow roots or attachments to people are snuffed out as soon as Frankie finds what she is looking for.  This was my first story by Lisa Gardner and now I plan to go way back to her early writing to start her series that features Detective D.D. Warren. Thanks to my friend DeAnn, for suggesting that I do so. We have a lot of fun reading ahead of us.  Publication date: January 19, 2021 Thank you to PENGUIN GROUP/Dutton and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY*** What a completely enjoyable read this was!!!! I learned that this is Ms. Gardner’s first standalone novel in 20 years and what a treat it was!! Our heroine, for she truly is, Frankie, is a recovering alcoholic with lots of regret and trauma in her past life. For the past decade she has been traveling from city to city working cold cases of missing young women. She looks for those that are sometimes neglected by the regular police or left to languish without much new in ***HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY*** What a completely enjoyable read this was!!!! I learned that this is Ms. Gardner’s first standalone novel in 20 years and what a treat it was!! Our heroine, for she truly is, Frankie, is a recovering alcoholic with lots of regret and trauma in her past life. For the past decade she has been traveling from city to city working cold cases of missing young women. She looks for those that are sometimes neglected by the regular police or left to languish without much new information or evidence to track. So far she has closed 14 cases but has yet to find a survivor. She is hoping this new case will be the one!!! Frankie is headed to Boston this time, a largely Haitian, somewhat run down neighborhood, Mattapan. This is where Angelique, “Angle” Bandeau lived with her aunt and brother. She has been missing for eleven months. She was last seen leaving her high school and no new information or evidence has arisen to cause the police to keep working the case. Frankie, a white woman, stands out in this largely Haitian and African American area. She quickly finds a job at a local pub and talks the owner into renting the above apartment to her in exchange for working 5 days a week. She will have to share the tiny apartment with a feisty feline who adds some humor to the novel and even some comfort to Frankie with her loud purring in the mornings. She has a way with people and while trying to find information on Angel befriends some women at a local donut shop who help her find her way around the confusing maze which is Boston’s commuter train and bus system. They also are a source of local knowledge, gossip and background information. She manages to gain some trust with Angel’s aunt and brother and slowly, slowly, she begins to try to understand Angel’s life. As with all teenagers, Angel, age 15 has secrets that even her best friends and family don’t know. They do know that she was extremely intelligent and had hoped to head to college. Frankie contacts the detective who worked on the case, Detective Lotham, and he tells her that they have covered all of the angles already and that she should go home!! Eventually she gains some of his trust and help and maybe a lot more than that!!!! There are layers and layers to this mystery and Frankie ends up looking for not one but two missing young girls. What is their connection? What could they possibly have gotten themselves into that would lead to their kidnapping??? There are chase scenes and gunshots fired, Frankie’s life seems to be at stake if she continues her hunt. There are some big players here that don’t want her intrusion!!! The ending is outstanding and left me wanting more. I don’t usually enjoy series but if this is the beginning of a new one with Frankie at the lead, count me in!! I’d recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a well written, character driven mystery, with a bit of Boston history and charm thrown in. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Lisa Gardner was inspired by the wide range of people who commit themselves to helping find the missing in our world for no reward for this crime thriller. Here, our hunter of the missing is haunted, alcoholic bartender Frankie Elkin, raised in Northern California, a white, middle aged woman, driven and determined, owning only what she can carry, staying only for as long as it takes to succeed in her mission and moving on to the next missing person. She is not a private investigator, she takes n Lisa Gardner was inspired by the wide range of people who commit themselves to helping find the missing in our world for no reward for this crime thriller. Here, our hunter of the missing is haunted, alcoholic bartender Frankie Elkin, raised in Northern California, a white, middle aged woman, driven and determined, owning only what she can carry, staying only for as long as it takes to succeed in her mission and moving on to the next missing person. She is not a private investigator, she takes no payment, she is an ordinary woman taking on an extraordinary task, coming in when the police have failed and the public have forgotten the missing. She has never failed, so far she has located 14 people, the only problem is that they were dead when she discovers them, just like her latest, Lani Whitehorse, just for once she would like to find someone alive. She travels to Boston for her next case, 15 year old schoolgirl Angelique 'Angel' Badeau, missing for 11 months, living with her Aunt Guerline and younger brother, Emmanuel. A clever girl, she has dreams of becoming a doctor, coming from Haiti after the earthquake disaster. Angel is no dreamer, but a planner, intent on staying in the US with her beloved aunt and brother, loyal and protective towards those she loves. She left her school one day and disappeared, her bag and phone found in bushes later, since then she has not been seen, leaving her family devastated and desperate. Frankie becomes bartender at Stoney's, living in a tiny flat above it, sharing her accommodation with a deranged and aggressive cat, Piper. Initially made to feel unwelcome by Angel's family and Detective Dan Lotham, Frankie begins to make headway in a case that had looked dead, but will she find Angel alive? Once again Lisa Gardner delivers as one of my favourite crime thriller authors, she creates a complex and magnetic character in Frankie, a woman wanting to atone, having to live with grief, tragedy and the ever present threat of succumbing to the demon drink, needing to attend AA meetings in whatever town she finds herself in. Whilst Frankie wants to connect with Lotham, at no point does she have romantic delusions, she knows herself better than that, as soon as she is finished, she will be off to look for the next missing person. The conclusion of the novel suggests there might be a possibility of Gardner returning to Frankie in the future, which I really hope she does. This is a entertaining and engaging thriller with a great central protagonist that I think many of Gardner's fans and other crime and thriller readers will love. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! “I’m growing on you, I can tell.” “Forget Detective Lotham. Maybe I’m growing on the entire population of Mattapan.” “What I lack in discipline I make up for in my personality.” That is just SOME of the praise Frankie Elkin gives herself while talking to other characters in Lisa Gardner’s first standalone novel in 20 years...and her dialogue is a HOOT! Frankie is an alcoholic who has been dry for years. What does she do in her free time? Investigate cold cases of missing peop HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! “I’m growing on you, I can tell.” “Forget Detective Lotham. Maybe I’m growing on the entire population of Mattapan.” “What I lack in discipline I make up for in my personality.” That is just SOME of the praise Frankie Elkin gives herself while talking to other characters in Lisa Gardner’s first standalone novel in 20 years...and her dialogue is a HOOT! Frankie is an alcoholic who has been dry for years. What does she do in her free time? Investigate cold cases of missing people with the intention of solving them. She’s not a detective, police officer, or PI. She does this in part to absolve herself of her past, and also because she’s damn good at it. She searches for cases where police have given up and public outcry has diminished. Her current case takes her to a rough part of Boston...Mattapan. It’s an area known for the high population of Haitians. Angelique “Angel” Badeau is a teenager who vanished from high school almost a year ago. Frankie gets word of this. Since nobody else seems to be tackling the case at this stage, she decides to give it a go. First, she finds a home/job at a bar called Stoney’s. The owner, Stoney, rents her the room above the bar in exchange for working there 5 days a week...and sharing the space with a possibly homicidal cat named Piper. 🐱 Then, it’s time to dig into the missing teenager, which leads to a suspenseful mystery with many possible scenarios and culprits. Frankie quickly learns that she is not welcome with open arms while searching for the truth. It might even lead to physical danger. I know I started this review with amusing quotes and mentioned Piper (killer cat), but this is not a cozy story. It’s a riveting mystery that goes from 0 to 60 in the course of seconds. I found it unputdownable as I was engrossed in everything going on, and learning the secrets that spilled out at timely moments. Lisa Gardner is a fantastic author who gives her characters so much depth and background. Frankie has a reason for doing this “selfless act”, and we learn about it as each layer of her is peeled back throughout the novel. When I first saw that this was a standalone, I was sad that I wouldn’t be reading the latest adventures of D.D. Warren...or even Rainie and Quincy (remember them?). However, Frankie is awesome! She holds her own, and I found the character riveting. As amazing as the mystery/thriller aspect is, my favorite thing about this book is the characters...and their interactions with Frankie. We have Stoney (her landlord and boss), Val (the bar cook), Detective Lotham (Through frustration and admiration, they have some SERIOUS chemistry! 🔥 ), and Angelique’s family. Oh, and of course Frankie’s feline roommate, Piper. Piper has glowing eyes...and likes to leave her with dead mice, vomit on the floor, and bodily injuries. 🐈 Each piece of the puzzle is handled so expertly. The buildup to the conclusion, as well as the denouement, is brilliantly plotted! This could remain a standalone, but I really hope it continues into a new series. The ending really left me yearning for more. Thank you to Dutton, Lisa Gardner, and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I’m shaken, slowly crying, barely gathering right words to tell how I wholeheartedly loved this book and how deeply affected me with its resonating, realistic, deeply layered character portraits! That’s why Ms. Gardner is one of the most brilliantly talented authors who creates broken but willful, fighter characters with tragic pasts. We’re introduced to brand new character Frankie Elkin: a recovering alcoholic, a loner, survivor of tragic past, having no proper place to call her home, no peopl I’m shaken, slowly crying, barely gathering right words to tell how I wholeheartedly loved this book and how deeply affected me with its resonating, realistic, deeply layered character portraits! That’s why Ms. Gardner is one of the most brilliantly talented authors who creates broken but willful, fighter characters with tragic pasts. We’re introduced to brand new character Frankie Elkin: a recovering alcoholic, a loner, survivor of tragic past, having no proper place to call her home, no people to call friends, family, acquaintances, carrying her limited belongings including a phone, a few clothes, a whistle at her backpack. Her mission is finding missing people who are given up by police and who are no longer remembered by public or never cared by media. She keeps looking for them as her redemption of tragic event she’d faced ten years ago. She keeps searching them to keep her sanity intact, controlling to urge to start drinking. She wants to save lives because of the guilt feeling has been eating her alive and slowly killing her for years! But when it gets dark and when she is alone by herself, her nightmares start chasing her again! At those darker times she calls her survivor which saved her from herself 10 years ago. That’s how she spends her days and nights: finding girls, running away from her inner demons. She found all the missing 14 people she’d be looking for but none of them were found alive! She’s definitely old school; she never carries smartphones, trying to find her way out in big cities’ complex transportation system by using her maps. But she’s good listener and she really knows how to ask right questions which may be her secret weapon to make the people talk and get the right clues out of their mouths to be on the right track of her cases. Now her last case dragged her to Mattapan, Boston: a very rough and dangerous neighborhood with its mostly Haitian population. Some of them moved to the states after losing their homes at the big earthquake for security reasons. Frankie came here to find 15 years old Haitian girl Angelique Badeau who goes missing after school 11 months ago and nobody hears from her. She connects with her aunt and her little tech genius brother Emmanuel to offer her free investigation service, getting a job at local bar and a room sharing with one of the wildest cats reminds you of baby panther. Of course locals get suspicious about a skinny white woman prying around their neighborhood and they want to know her real agenda ( 15 minutes fame, bribery money, insanity etc.) but she slowly finds her way to make them trust her and give the crucial information she needs. She also gains trust of Detective Lotham who conducts the investigation ! Their sizzling chemistry between them may put the entire neighborhood on fire! They find out Angelique’s disappearance may be connected with another case: another smart student, 15 years old Livia who is sister of drug dealer. As they dig deeper, they start to realize the case they’re working on so much complex, dangerous than simple case of two girls’ disappearances! Overall: Well balanced paced, action packed, smart, hooking up, addictive writing style, mind blowing characterization made me fall in love with this book over and over again so my final words about this excellent reading experience are: please take my five gazillion stars and give me at least 10 more Frankie Elkin books! Millions of thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN Dutton for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts! I cannot wait to read the next adventure of Frankie Elkin!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    I’ve been reading Lisa Gardner’s books for years, enjoying both her series stand-alone and options equally. Sadly this latest release fell short for me. Maybe I’ve just come to expect more from this author.💁🏻‍♀️ Frankie Elkin has devoted her every waking moment to finding missing children. Her focus is on those who may not have a voice heard through media, with no resources necessary to keep an investigation moving forward. Her latest challenge brings her to a Boston suburb where a young Haitian g I’ve been reading Lisa Gardner’s books for years, enjoying both her series stand-alone and options equally. Sadly this latest release fell short for me. Maybe I’ve just come to expect more from this author.💁🏻‍♀️ Frankie Elkin has devoted her every waking moment to finding missing children. Her focus is on those who may not have a voice heard through media, with no resources necessary to keep an investigation moving forward. Her latest challenge brings her to a Boston suburb where a young Haitian girl, Angelique has vanished. Can Frankie work her magic and piece together the mystery of her disappearance in time to bring her home safely? I had a hard time warming up to Frankie. I just didn’t find her...authentic?🤷🏻‍♀️ Her reasons for devoting her passion to this cause just didn’t add up for me. And her glimpses into her past just didn’t bring much to the table. Still, Lisa Gardner remains one of my favorite authors. This was just a step back for me. There are some great five-star reviews out there so take a look at those as well before making a decision on this book. A buddy read with Susanne that left both of us a little bit perplexed and underwhelmed.🙁 Thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing Group for an ARC to read and review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Frankie Elkin is an alcoholic who moves across the country searching for missing people, chiefly from minority groups. She’s a restless soul, driven to help those perhaps to save herself from her inner demons. She makes her way to Mattapan an overcrowded and run down area of Boston, where she helps the Haitian family of Angelique Badeau, an excellent student, who disappeared eleven months ago. What unfolds is an intriguing case that places Frankie in danger. The book starts really well and the c Frankie Elkin is an alcoholic who moves across the country searching for missing people, chiefly from minority groups. She’s a restless soul, driven to help those perhaps to save herself from her inner demons. She makes her way to Mattapan an overcrowded and run down area of Boston, where she helps the Haitian family of Angelique Badeau, an excellent student, who disappeared eleven months ago. What unfolds is an intriguing case that places Frankie in danger. The book starts really well and the character of Frankie really intrigues me. She’s resourceful, tough but also vulnerable with battling her addiction to alcohol. In my opinion, one of the biggest strengths of the novel is the characterisation and especially likeable are Stoney and Viv at the bar where Frankie works and lives to keep body and soul together. Detective Dan Lothan is another good character and the undercurrent between him and Frankie adds another dimension. There’s some smart dialogue, it’s a well written story and the setting in Mattapan is good as it’s a scary place to be especially at night. The case is interesting and the plot gets deeper and deeper with some good twists along the way particularly in the clues that smart cookie Angélique provides for her equally smart brother Emmanuel. . I have no trouble believing the storyline or outcome. However, for the first half the read is compelling but the pace stays the same pretty much throughout. It’s a jog and I begin to want a sprint, more speed and an injection of more excitement although the end is good. I can honestly say I like the book but I don’t love it, it’s a solidly enjoyable read rather than a completely memorable one. I like Lisa Gardner and I will always want to read what she writes and I’d like Frankie to reappear in another novel because I think she’s fascinating. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for the arc for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    "I am my demons, and my demons are me." 3.5/4 stars Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic and amateur sleuth. She spends her time (and her life) moving from place to place searching for missing people. She works as a bartender to earn her keep while looking for those the police cannot find. Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager has gone missing from Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood. She is a studious teen with ambitions of being a doctor. She disappears after school one day and the Boston PD, h "I am my demons, and my demons are me." 3.5/4 stars Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic and amateur sleuth. She spends her time (and her life) moving from place to place searching for missing people. She works as a bartender to earn her keep while looking for those the police cannot find. Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager has gone missing from Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood. She is a studious teen with ambitions of being a doctor. She disappears after school one day and the Boston PD, have been unable to locate her. Armed with tenacity and questions, she begins her own search, one that many are not happy with. A search which will upset some, a search that will bring up more questions, answers, and rattle some feathers. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes and the ability to think like a teenager are all that is needed to uncover new clues. Often these skills, will also land you in hot water, place you in danger and make others uncomfortable. This was an enjoyable read which kept me engaged although there were times, I wanted the book to hurry up a little bit. There were parts that dragged a little for me. Frankie is a woman with a past that haunts her and we learn more about it as the book goes on. I found this to be both interesting and frustrating at the same time, but it does work to show how she moved from one addiction (alcohol) to another (searching for missing people) and what may be her motivating factor. She also had me wanting to shake her from time to time. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review also published on blog:https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Frankie Elkins is a troubled middle aged woman, who is on the run from her life. She is a recovering alcoholic who finds missing persons. It’s just something she has been doing for the last ten years of her life. In “Before She Disappeared” Frankie finds herself in Boston, searching for teenager Angelique Badeau who went missing from her High School eleven months prior. Though she has no experience or training, somehow, Franki Review also published on blog:https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Frankie Elkins is a troubled middle aged woman, who is on the run from her life. She is a recovering alcoholic who finds missing persons. It’s just something she has been doing for the last ten years of her life. In “Before She Disappeared” Frankie finds herself in Boston, searching for teenager Angelique Badeau who went missing from her High School eleven months prior. Though she has no experience or training, somehow, Frankie has a way about her, an ability to make people trust her and get information that the police do not. In addition, she thinks of avenues to explore that the police don’t even consider. Frankie is a complex character, whose backstory is somewhat compelling. She is kind and strong, yet tormented by her past. While this book starts out as suspenseful and intriguing, it required this reader to suspend disbelief at Frankie’s ability to solve crimes, given her lack of training. I also found the romance that was brewing between Frankie and the Detective to be a bit rushed. Furthermore, I didn’t buy into Frankie’s background as the reasons for her needing to make things right and thought the novel felt “forced.” What makes this story enjoyable however, is the writing. It is extremely solid and the character development, as always is very well done. As a huge fan of Lisa Gardner, the DD Warren and Flora Dane series, unfortunately, this standalone novel didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I therefore hope that the author returns to her tried and true for her next go round. Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group - Dutton, and Lisa Gardner for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 11.22.20.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin-Dutton, and Lisa Gardner for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 1.19!** This was my very first Lisa Gardner book, and my first question is....how could I have waited so long? Frankie Elkin knows the meaning of heartbreak: several years sober, her past has compelled her to pick up where the police leave off, an ordinary civilian armed with nothing but her razor-sharp instincts and a yearning for the truth. Specifically, she deals in missing persons cold cas **Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin-Dutton, and Lisa Gardner for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 1.19!** This was my very first Lisa Gardner book, and my first question is....how could I have waited so long? Frankie Elkin knows the meaning of heartbreak: several years sober, her past has compelled her to pick up where the police leave off, an ordinary civilian armed with nothing but her razor-sharp instincts and a yearning for the truth. Specifically, she deals in missing persons cold cases that have stumped the authorities and have 'run their course' in the eyes of the law. She may not always find the subjects alive, but her irascible nature won't let her give up until she finds answers. This journey leads her to the town of Mattapan, where the Haitian community is reeling from the disappearance of Angelique Badeau, a teenager who vanished after school one day. Frankie finds herself a 'day job' at a bar Stoney's, becomes acquainted with her roommate (a persnickety feline named Piper), and hits the ground running investigating Angelique's whereabouts. Along the way, working with Detective Lotham, she stumbles into the reality that Angelique is not the only teenager missing...and it's up to her to suss out the connection. Luckily, whiz kid Angelique has left a few clues, and with the help of Angel's brother Emmanuel, Frankie is able to make out a few carefully coded messages. But will these breadcrumbs be enough to lead her down the trail to the teens? And what about the dark and ominous stranger Frankie has caught watching her in the shadows? The premise of this book is fascinating, and I appreciate that Gardner actually took inspiration from real life for this one. It's hard to believe there are legions of brave 'regular' people out there who are so motivated beyond the norms of a police investigation that they will pick up where others left off, and I find that incredibly moving. I was excited to read this book because it was a stand-alone mystery/thriller, rather than the first in a long series featuring Detective or Inspector X, and to have the lead 'investigator' not as a member of a police force or a detective was so refreshing! I tend to steer clear of anything that personally feels like too much like a police procedural, but the beauty of this book is that it had several of these elements without feeling too slow, detail-heavy, or stereotypical. Frankie is such a wily yet tortured protagonist, it was fascinating to climb inside her mind while the drama of the mystery played out simultaneously. Ironically, although this book wasn't set to become the first in a series, I certainly think it has the potential to become one if Gardner chose to go that route. This foray out of the norm was welcome, thrilling, exciting, and an interesting journey from start to finish! This may have been my first Lisa Gardner, but assuredly it won't be my last! 4 ⭐

  11. 5 out of 5

    J.D. Barker

    With the skilled hand of a seasoned pro, Lisa Gardner peels back the layers of her first stand-alone novel in twenty years through the eyes of snarky Frankie Elkin - a recovering alcoholic hellbent on finding missing persons while dodging the demons of her past. Suspenseful, gritty, intense. Before She Disappeared is Gardner at her best.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ink_Drinker

    This is Lisa Gardner's first standalone in 20 years, so I was anxiously awaiting this read! It was everything I’ve come to expect from Lisa!! The plot is gripping and there are enough twists to keep you turning the page. Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic, searches for people that the cops have stopped looking for and families have given up on. It is her life's work and she is good at it! Frankie follows her own set of rules which keeps the story very exciting. You get to know Frankie and all This is Lisa Gardner's first standalone in 20 years, so I was anxiously awaiting this read! It was everything I’ve come to expect from Lisa!! The plot is gripping and there are enough twists to keep you turning the page. Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic, searches for people that the cops have stopped looking for and families have given up on. It is her life's work and she is good at it! Frankie follows her own set of rules which keeps the story very exciting. You get to know Frankie and all her past mishaps which makes her real and very likable. Her new case brings her to a rough neighborhood outside of Boston and the search to find Angelique Nassau before it's too late!! Lisa Gardner has to do a sequel to this book! I need more of Frankie❤ If you like mysteries and crime fiction, you will love this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 missing person stars -- this one is now available! I first have to say that I really like the way Lisa Gardner writes! It might be a bit of a slow burn for some, but I like the way she sets the scene. She tells the story and draws me in with fighting crime and flawed characters. This time the story centers around a civilian, Frankie Elkin, who has a personal mission to try to find missing people. These are usually cold cases -- the people that the police have given up on, but families still hav 4 missing person stars -- this one is now available! I first have to say that I really like the way Lisa Gardner writes! It might be a bit of a slow burn for some, but I like the way she sets the scene. She tells the story and draws me in with fighting crime and flawed characters. This time the story centers around a civilian, Frankie Elkin, who has a personal mission to try to find missing people. These are usually cold cases -- the people that the police have given up on, but families still have hope that someday the missing person will come home or that they will get resolution. It is interesting that she makes progress on these cases, perhaps there is reluctance to talk to the police or she just finds a new angle. Frankie often puts herself in dangerous situations and we get small clues to her past throughout the book. The setting was fun for me since I went to school in Boston, I never visited Mattapan though. I don’t think it’s somewhere you visit! Frankie starts digging up the past in her quest to find Angelique, a high schooler who has disappeared without a trace. It’s fascinating because in a city like Boston, there are cameras everywhere, but the police have drawn a complete blank and quite a bit of time has elapsed since Angelique has gone missing. I enjoyed the descriptions of the tight-knit Haitian community in Mattapan and there were some great characters in this one. I liked the bar owner and the cook at the bar where Frankie gets a job as well as the detective on the case. And how could I forget the memorable cat Piper? Frankie is a realistic and flawed character and sticks out as an outsider in Mattapan; we know that she is a recovering alcoholic and Gardner depicted that very realistically. I like that she goes to meetings and much of the help she gets is from her networking. The story takes some time to develop and it just seems to get stranger and stranger as a few new clues come to light. I was not close to figuring this one out and I did enjoy how it turned out. I really enjoyed the author notes at the end that she got this idea from people that do just this – go out and try to solve cold cases. This is my sixth book by this author, and I wish I had more time to read all of her earlier books! Thank you to Dutton and Edelweiss for the early copy of this one to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    3.5 Stars rounded up. The start of this novel was fantastic and I was completely enthralled on account of Gardner's magnificent character development. Frankie Elkin is a deeply flawed, middle-aged recovering alcoholic who is only good at one thing: finding missing people. People that society seems to give up on and forget about disturbingly quickly. Frankie travels from town to town investigating these disappearances and has successfully brought home 14 people, the only catch is none of them hav 3.5 Stars rounded up. The start of this novel was fantastic and I was completely enthralled on account of Gardner's magnificent character development. Frankie Elkin is a deeply flawed, middle-aged recovering alcoholic who is only good at one thing: finding missing people. People that society seems to give up on and forget about disturbingly quickly. Frankie travels from town to town investigating these disappearances and has successfully brought home 14 people, the only catch is none of them have come home alive, thus far anyway. Frankie is looking to change that when she hears about missing Haitian student Angelique Badeau, bringing her to the immigrant-laden depths of Mattapan, a neighborhood within Boston, and one that is unwelcoming of strangers, to say the least. Upon arrival Frankie soon discovers she's not going to get any help from the locals, or law enforcement, save one wary and hesitant Detective Dan Lotham, who is initially doubtful of Frankie's abilities and motivations, but nonetheless accepting of the civilian assistance. I enjoyed dynamic back and forth between Frankie and Lotham, and could predict they would become friendly as the investigation intensified, becoming ever so dangerous the closer Frankie got to uncovering the truth of the missing teen. Not being a huge fan of procedurals or gang and drug-related plots, I tried my best to remain fully engaged, but predicted the conclusion fairly early on, and stuck it out for the protagonists and side-characters, which were incredibly amusing, especially Frankie's furry roommate, Piper the cat. Even though the mystery element didn't work out for me as well as I'd hoped for, there is no denying that Gardner is a phenomenal writer and this could very likely be the beginning of another series for her. In the event Garner continues to write standalones, specifically psychological suspense/thriller standalones, I will most definitely continue reading them!! Undoubtedly this will be a fan favorite for 2021 :-) and I can see why Gardner has become such a star. Here's to a great '21 of reading!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    This is yet another wonderful mystery/suspense novel from Lisa Gardner. This time a stand alone. Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic who travels from city to city as a civilian who helps solve unsolved disappearances. Although she’s white and middle-aged, many of the people she helps find are young women of color. She has traded her hard drinking for another addiction—living out of a backpack and only staying in one place long enough to find the missing. This time Frankie heads to Boston whe This is yet another wonderful mystery/suspense novel from Lisa Gardner. This time a stand alone. Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic who travels from city to city as a civilian who helps solve unsolved disappearances. Although she’s white and middle-aged, many of the people she helps find are young women of color. She has traded her hard drinking for another addiction—living out of a backpack and only staying in one place long enough to find the missing. This time Frankie heads to Boston where a fifteen-year-old girl, a wonderful student and a Haitian immigrant whose legal status to stay in the U.S. is about to run out, has been missing for almost a year. People are sometimes more willing to talk to her than they are to someone carrying a badge, but she also doesn’t have the protections a cop would have like, say for example, a gun. As a white woman in a black neighborhood, she’s very noticeable, especially when she starts asking questions. This is fast-paced and a lot of fun. Recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JANUARY 19, 2021.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kat (Books are Comfort Food!)

    I love Lisa Gardiner books and I have read most, if not all, of them and enjoyed them immensely. This, unfortunately, was not one of those books and I’m definitely in the minority with my opinion and review. This book was a challenge for me to get through and forcing myself to keep moving was the only way I progressed. Publishers do themselves and the writer a disservice when they classify a story as a “propulsive thriller” when it’s not. To me this was more a character-driven mystery about one c I love Lisa Gardiner books and I have read most, if not all, of them and enjoyed them immensely. This, unfortunately, was not one of those books and I’m definitely in the minority with my opinion and review. This book was a challenge for me to get through and forcing myself to keep moving was the only way I progressed. Publishers do themselves and the writer a disservice when they classify a story as a “propulsive thriller” when it’s not. To me this was more a character-driven mystery about one courageous woman Frankie Elkin, who cares about humanity and the missing, who are frequently lost, tossed aside as life continues. As a character study it’s a beautiful book, full of great one-liners and nuggets of wisdom and shows how one person can change lives. Based on a true story of Alissa Yellowbird-chase, who searches for missing persons and she’s not alone, as other private citizens, turn private-eye, searching for the missing. This book was a slow burn and there isn’t anything that happens for awhile. We do get to know Frankie, who is a flawed (aren’t we all), recovering alcoholic with bigger daemons to slay. Is she a hero? Absolutely! She has traveled from place-to-place for 10 years to find those who are lost, but not forgotten, giving families closure, sometimes heartbreak and other times peace. And, in her years of service and experience, she had found 14 missing people. What tripped me up were all the pages that contained Frankie’s deep-thoughts, introspection and self-analysis, then migrated toward tidbits of info that didn’t forward the storyline. Halfway through the book, I felt the same. It wasn’t until the 70% mark when I awoke from my Winter slumber and sniffed Spring in the air. Normally, when I get a book like this I will cut my losses and move on. Being a Lisa Gardner book, I read on and on ... tick, tick, tick. For those that love character driven, police procedural, mysteries, I think you will love the book. It’s well-written and I loved the characters and I was left wanting to know more about them. I loved learning about Mattapan, in Boston, a rough & rocky neighborhood, but also with interesting Haitian culture and flare. Bottom line for me is the book just didn’t have enough thrill to be a thriller.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Before She Disappeared is an outstanding thriller (and hopefully the start of a new series!) that introduces Frankie Elkin, who specializes in missing person cold cases. And even though it's only January, this is definitely going on my best of 2021 list. Frankie is awesome--complex, smart but yet aware of her limitations, a woman who cares deeply but can't bring herself to allow anyone in. She's also very, very good at her job. And in Before She Disappeared, she's in Boston, trying to find a teen Before She Disappeared is an outstanding thriller (and hopefully the start of a new series!) that introduces Frankie Elkin, who specializes in missing person cold cases. And even though it's only January, this is definitely going on my best of 2021 list. Frankie is awesome--complex, smart but yet aware of her limitations, a woman who cares deeply but can't bring herself to allow anyone in. She's also very, very good at her job. And in Before She Disappeared, she's in Boston, trying to find a teenage girl, Angelique, who has been missing for almost a year. What makes Before She Disappeared such a great thriller is not just the plot, although it is full of twists and very well done, but the characters. I felt like I gor to know all of them, even the minor ones, and it's a real testament to Gardner's skill that I felt like I knew everything about Angelique, even though her "in person" role is small. I can't stress the wonderfulness of the characterization enough--writing a compelling stand alone thriller means you have to have a killer (!) plot and characters and it can be hard enough to do that, let alone set up a potential new series, but Lisa Gardner has done it, and done it very, very well. Before She Disappeared is an outstanding thriller and all around great read, and is my first best of 2021 pick. Very, very highly recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Frankie Elkin has had some knocks in life. She’s now a recovering alcoholic and like many of our unsung heroes or heroines I got to be saddened and joyed by this woman. Where Police have failed and life goes on but the missing remain missing she is determined to find them. With just little possessions that fit into one bag, she uses any money she can get to aide her plight. Of course, the best time for seeking missing people or those that don’t want to be found is at night. A white scruffy looking w Frankie Elkin has had some knocks in life. She’s now a recovering alcoholic and like many of our unsung heroes or heroines I got to be saddened and joyed by this woman. Where Police have failed and life goes on but the missing remain missing she is determined to find them. With just little possessions that fit into one bag, she uses any money she can get to aide her plight. Of course, the best time for seeking missing people or those that don’t want to be found is at night. A white scruffy looking woman walking around at night will bring attention to herself. And she does. Her mission though is a good one. I loved the main character and all the cast. I’ve not read this authors books for ages so when I received this in the post I got straight on it knowing it’s either a standalone or first part in a new series. Thoroughly enjoyed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Javier

    Review published in: https://diagnosisbookaholic.blogspot.... Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic whose life mission is to search for those missing people everyone else has forgotten. Her new case brings her to Mattapan, a rough Boston neighborhood, in search of Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teen who disappeared a year earlier. Soon she encounters resistance from Boston PD and the missing girl environment but nothing will stop her in her search for the truth. Frankie is a flawed and vulnerable y Review published in: https://diagnosisbookaholic.blogspot.... Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic whose life mission is to search for those missing people everyone else has forgotten. Her new case brings her to Mattapan, a rough Boston neighborhood, in search of Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teen who disappeared a year earlier. Soon she encounters resistance from Boston PD and the missing girl environment but nothing will stop her in her search for the truth. Frankie is a flawed and vulnerable yet strong character. As her statement "I'm growing on the population of Mattapan", she grew on me too. It took some time but once she did I kept rooting for her to succeed in her search of Angelique as it was clear she needed it to help her exorcize some of her demons. There were some great supporting characters as Stoney, Viv or Detective Lotham, and I loved how their initial rebuff of Frankie turned into respect once they realized her only interest was to help Angelique's family. There was some really smart dialogue and her sassiness while talking to some people was so much fun to read. It was nice to keep learning little nuggets of her background as the story went on, although her reasoning to devote herself to the search of missing persons could have been a little bit better grounded. I listened to the audiobook version (great work of the narrator, btw) and some times my mind just wandered a bit, especially at the beginning, cause the story took some time to pick up. It was much better paced once Frankie started working along Detective Lotham. Very well written story with a multilayered main character and a great cast of supporting ones. I know this is supposed to be a stand-alone but I can clearly see it developing into a series I would gladly keep coming back to.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Loved The Writing, Loved the Story SUMMARY Frankie Elkin solves cold cases, cases the police have given up on. She is a middle-aged white woman, a recovering alcoholic and never stays in one place longer than it takes to solve a case. She works for free and travels with only a few belonging. She has resolved 14 cases, although none of the victims she has found thus far have been alive. Will the next one be different? Her next case takes her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a reputation for d Loved The Writing, Loved the Story SUMMARY Frankie Elkin solves cold cases, cases the police have given up on. She is a middle-aged white woman, a recovering alcoholic and never stays in one place longer than it takes to solve a case. She works for free and travels with only a few belonging. She has resolved 14 cases, although none of the victims she has found thus far have been alive. Will the next one be different? Her next case takes her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a reputation for drugs and violence. After securing a job as a bartender that comes with a room, she begins her search for Angelique Badeau, a bright and talented Haitian teenager who has dreams of becoming a doctor. Angel vanished from her high school, eleven months earlier. The Boston PD tells Frankie to get lost and Angelique’s aunt has already given up hope. But Frankie does not scare easily, she has already seen more grief and tragedy than most. She starts asking questions and with the help of Emmanuel, Frankie’s younger brother, quickly uncovers some leads. Someone, however, does not want Frankie doing what she does. But even bullets won’t stop Frankie from discovering the truth, and finding the missing. REVIEW Love the writing, loved the story and especially loved the courageous Frankie. In spite of the troubles in her past she preservers. She is a persistent, smart and gutsy woman. My favorite part of Before She Disappeared was the wit, charm and authenticity of Frankie’s character. Her struggles with the bottle made her real. I also adored Frankie’s delightful repartee with Piper, the homicidal cat. Piper made me laugh! Before She Disappeared is an entertaining, fast-paced and captivating missing person mystery. It is told uniquely from the perspective of a woman who had dedicated her life to finding the missing and gaining closure to families. Can’t wait to read more about Frankie in the future. Simply put, this was undoubtably one of Lisa Gardner’s best books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judy D Collins

    Celebrating 20 years —one of the "best" crime thriller writers out today, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, Lisa Gardner delivers a killer standalone, BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED with the introduction of a new unstoppable heroine, Frankie Elkin. If you are a fan of Gardner's Boston Detective D.D. Warren, FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy, and vigilante Flora Dane, you are assured to root for Frankie Elkin —an expert in missing persons. Frankie reminds me a big of Flora, in fact. Frankie is not a polic Celebrating 20 years —one of the "best" crime thriller writers out today, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, Lisa Gardner delivers a killer standalone, BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED with the introduction of a new unstoppable heroine, Frankie Elkin. If you are a fan of Gardner's Boston Detective D.D. Warren, FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy, and vigilante Flora Dane, you are assured to root for Frankie Elkin —an expert in missing persons. Frankie reminds me a big of Flora, in fact. Frankie is not a police officer nor a PI. She has no prior skills or special training. She is only an average, middle-aged white woman with more regrets than belongings, more sad stories than happy ones. She works best when the police have given up, the public no longer remembers, when the media has never bothered to care. She starts looking. She wants no money, no recognition, and no help. She travels all around the country. She volunteers her time. The forgotten ones. Frankie's past torments her. She is a recovering alcoholic, an addict, an ex-lover, and a lost soul. As an amateur sleuth, she can solve cold cases when the best of technology and authorities have given up and some of the families. She is driven. She knows how to ask the right questions. The families trust her. She looks where no one else has thought to look. The authorities do not always welcome her nor the families until they see her in action. She is tenacious and will stop at nothing, even risking her own life to find the missing person. She has a super track record. However, she still strives to locate the victim before they are dead. She will live and work and travel wherever she is needed. She works alone. Frankie is passionate and determined. She travels light. She carries no smartphone or electronics. She has a Tracfone and a screwdriver kit that doubles as a hair clip. She is street smart and fearless. She listens, she relates. She has a heart of gold. As the book opens, Frankie finds a body when no one else could. Case closed. Now it is time for her next case. BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED is set in Mattapan, a neighborhood of diverse cultures in Boston in a high-crime area. Native Americans, Irish, Jewish, and Haitian immigrants are now home to a large African American and Caribbean community. Frankie, in particular, helps minorities. She takes a job as a bartender (she like to face the booze-monster head on) in the small town where she sticks out, and the job comes with a room upstairs at a fair price and a cantankerous cat, Piper. Stoney, the owner, does not say much, but he is observant. Viv, the woman cook, takes her under her wing. Stoney has a thing for strays and recognizes a lost soul when he sees one. She must find Angelique Badeau. Sixteen years old. Missing eleven months. Her goal is to bring her home alive. Her aunt, Guerline, and brother Emmanuel finally learn to trust her. Angelique left school one day and has not been seen since. That was eleven months ago. She also had two friends, Kyra and Marjorie. Very smart, good grades, ambitious, and no boyfriends. Thus far, she has found no one alive and determined this will be the first. However, as she gets closer to the truth with the help of Emmanuel and his computer skills, she is in danger and the family. Nothing will stand in her way! I loved Frankie and Detective Lotham! What a great cast of characters. Frankie has lots of support, as each person gets to know her quirky ways. True-crime fans will find a lot to like here! There is plenty of heart-pounding action and suspense. Multi-layered, a raw, gritty, INTENSE, compelling, and riveting page-turner standalone you will not be able to put down. I am hoping we see Frankie again in a series! Grief and loss are topics interwoven in the novel. There are plenty of raw emotions from all sides, especially the family searching for missing loved ones, which can turn cold with little hope. Gardner dives deep into the police procedures and criminal minds (in all her books), and this time around, she adds one more perspective, an amateur sleuth. Always great research. She draws you in from page one and never lets you go. I enjoyed learning about this diverse city and its characters. A top book of 2021! Do not miss this one. Lisa continues to be my favorite crime author out today, and I cannot wait to see more Frankie, DD Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy. Move this one to the top of your list NOW! INTERVIEW: Check out my Elevator Ride with Lisa and learn all the exclusives and behind the book's scenes and the "queen of suspense." Fun, Fun. 🤩 Do not miss it! #JDCMustReadBooks "Memories sear. I have so many of them now. They're not precious moments, but burning hot coals I keep picking up and turning over in my mind. They hurt. I study them harder. They burn deeper. I come back for more." —Frankie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jannelies

    We meet Frankie Elkin, a not-so-young anymore woman with an addiction and a secret. As the story gets going, we will learn more about these two bits of darkness. Both are a big part of her, and both play a role in her current life. Frenkie finds people. She is not a private detective, she has no experience in law enforcement, and she works for free. But she can find people that only the family cares about: the young, the strays, the vulnerable, and the unimportant. Now, Frenkie finds herself in Bo We meet Frankie Elkin, a not-so-young anymore woman with an addiction and a secret. As the story gets going, we will learn more about these two bits of darkness. Both are a big part of her, and both play a role in her current life. Frenkie finds people. She is not a private detective, she has no experience in law enforcement, and she works for free. But she can find people that only the family cares about: the young, the strays, the vulnerable, and the unimportant. Now, Frenkie finds herself in Boston, looking for Angelique Badeau, a 15-year old schoolgirl who disappeared almost a year ago. Living in a bad section of Boston, aren’t particularly interested in this latest disappearance. But Frenkie is. She takes a job as a waitress at Stoney’s, and lives above the establishment, sharing a space with Piper, a house cat with an attitude. Frenkie has a way with people. She’s good at asking the right questions—and not necessarily the same questions the police asked. Haunted by her past, but determined to find Angelique, Frenkie meets more and more people. Some are friendly, some are just fellow travellers on the complicated public transport system. Some aren’t. Others even shoot to kill. Frenkie is a heart-warming character, and one whose secrets become familiar to us as the story progresses. She asks the right questions. And she cares. Before She Disappeared also asks the right questions. What if the missing girl would have been a rich girl from privilege, instead of a girl of Haitian descent raised in a poor neighborhood? What if she wasn’t a very smart girl, determined to get a good education? The story picks up the pace when it gets going, and is hard to put down. The characters are very well defined, and both the setting and the general atmosphere are entrancing. What a read! In the end, everything comes together nicely with some unexpected twists. A very recommendable read again, for people who like stories with a solid background, excitement, and (let’s not forget) cats. Penguin group provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is expected January 21, 2021.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Menezes

    Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who 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 Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high schoo Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who 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 Frankie 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 will be her. The minute I read the premise of the book; I just couldn’t wait to read it. It was so intriguing. Once I started reading it, I was engaged right till the end. The plot had everything to make it an excellent read. I loved the main character, Frankie’s story. The work she does is so amazing. By doing what she does, she manages to give hope to those families of the missing people. Her dealing with her addiction is inspiring. And her investigation was meticulous and fearless. The supporting characters were also good especially Frankie's co-workers and Detective Lotham. The suspense was maintained throughout the book, and the constant discoveries and twists made the plot interesting I really do hope this is turns into a series, because I do want to read more of Frankie. Thank You NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for this ARC!

  24. 5 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic, with a tragic past has one thing she’s good at: finding missing persons. Her newest case brings her to Mattapan, Boston where the case of a missing teenager, Angelique Badeau, has grown cold after eleven months. Her raking up the past quickly gets the attention of the original investigating officer, Detective Lotham. At first, he’s very suspicious of Frankie’s motives in the case, does she want money or fame? But when her questions bring fresh leads out Lot Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic, with a tragic past has one thing she’s good at: finding missing persons. Her newest case brings her to Mattapan, Boston where the case of a missing teenager, Angelique Badeau, has grown cold after eleven months. Her raking up the past quickly gets the attention of the original investigating officer, Detective Lotham. At first, he’s very suspicious of Frankie’s motives in the case, does she want money or fame? But when her questions bring fresh leads out Lotham and Frankie form a reluctant team with an undercurrent of attraction between them. Before She Disappeared was sort of old-school investigation of asking a question and then the next one instead of relying on forensics and police technology since Frankie didn’t have access to all of that. She had a talent for shaking out information. I liked Frankie, the way she effortlessly formed bonds with the people she met, even though she’s a self-proclaimed rolling-stone. Once settled on a new case she arrives in town and won’t leave until she finds the missing person. Frankie’s determination was admirable, but I do wish she’d allow herself to settle down, form roots and be happy. I think pulling up stakes when she finishes is her way of penance for a tragedy that was ultimately not her fault, and it made me sad thinking about it. That’s the thing about Lisa Gardner’s stories, she makes her characters come to life, flaws and all, so that you care about their happiness beyond just solving the current mystery. I’ve been a huge fan of Lisa Gardner’s smart, well-researched mysteries for years. Even before Goodreads. Not completely sure if there will be more books featuring Frankie as Ms. Gardner has said this is her first “standalone” in twenty years. If there are more, I’d like Frankie to forgive herself. Plus, I want more of Piper the “attack cat”! I guess we’ll see. Whatever she comes up with next I’ll be reading! I’ve enjoyed Hilary Huber’s narration before so when I noticed she was narrating Before She Disappeared I grabbed up an audio copy so I could continue with the story while doing other things in real-life. Sometimes, you just don’t want to put the book down, lol! Ms. Huber has a rich, sultry voice which enhanced an already captivating story. I listened at 1.5x normal speed. A copy was kindly provided by Dutton via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    Incase you're wondering how this fits into Gardner's DD Universe, or various connected series, surprise! It doesn't. BEFORE SHE DIED is a standalone from this prolific author and stands apart (at least for now?) and in a sense our protagonist, Frankie Elkin, feels like a combination of all Gardner's other leading ladies. What Frankie does is investigate missing persons cases, specifically people of colour, whose disappearances have remained unsolved, long gone cold. This definitely gave me a bit Incase you're wondering how this fits into Gardner's DD Universe, or various connected series, surprise! It doesn't. BEFORE SHE DIED is a standalone from this prolific author and stands apart (at least for now?) and in a sense our protagonist, Frankie Elkin, feels like a combination of all Gardner's other leading ladies. What Frankie does is investigate missing persons cases, specifically people of colour, whose disappearances have remained unsolved, long gone cold. This definitely gave me a bit of a Flora vibe, minus the vigilante thing, because Frankie has no investigative experience, isn't pretending to be a cop or a private detective. She is a full on civilian, leaning into the perks of having no red tape to contend with, while somehow managing to ask the right questions, poke the right bears, and use her single-minded focus as an limitless resource to do what the police can't : find answers. And though she is without training, and heeds no rules, she gave me serious DD vibes with her wit, and her addiction, as a recovering addict, made me think of Rainie. See? Little bit of everyone. Did I like her though? I don't know. Sometimes. She definitely has a bit of mystery of her own, some backstory that haunts her, and haunts us too with teasing little moments that make us wonder what happened, what would possess a middle aged woman to be transient, traveling from city to city, state to state, working odd jobs to make a living wage for the length of time she needs to search out the missing person, only to pick up and leave. I love the idea of this. I love how Gardner leaned into the loneliness of it, the fixation, a different form of addiction -- one she doesn't resist, one she feeds, even as she fights the call of a drink -- and yet I never truly.. felt her, understood her. Maybe that's realistic, though. Maybe we're not supposed to. No one else seems to. The mystery of this story? So unique. I'm not sure I've read one like it. It twists and turns, the pieces never seem to quite fit, much less seem to actually belong to the same puzzle, and yet it did all inevitably make sense. What I liked almost as much as the concept? The setting and, as it went hand in hand, the supporting cast. This takes place in a very multicultural area in Boston and the mix of neighbours, the various people Frankie befriends, orbits around, they all felt rich, solid, like people I would want to know. It makes me sad that even if we get another story featuring Frankie, it won't be with these other characters. Or, rather, unlikely to be. Because that defeats the concept of her existence, of her mission. Overall this was really solid, though I definitely found the first half more compelling, and while it probably won't make the cut if I ever did a Top Ten Gardner Books list? I still had a good time with it. 3.5 stars ** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** ---- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    I really enjoyed the new standalone thriller by Lisa Gardner featuring a great character Frankie Elkin. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic who has seen more of her share of problems through her life. Now for reasons she cannot explain spends all her time and money searching for missing people the police have stopped looking for. Her latest case is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Angelique is from a Boston area with a rough reputa I really enjoyed the new standalone thriller by Lisa Gardner featuring a great character Frankie Elkin. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic who has seen more of her share of problems through her life. Now for reasons she cannot explain spends all her time and money searching for missing people the police have stopped looking for. Her latest case is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Angelique is from a Boston area with a rough reputation and she expects to have problems getting help from both the police and an untrusting family and friends. Frankie is used to hitting brick walls and will continue to try and find the truth far after everyone else has given up. I know this is the first stand alone the author has written for many years but with such a strong character as Frankie Elkin it could easily turn into a new series. Exciting, action packed read. I would like to thank both Netgalley and Random House, Cornerstone for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andreia ❤The Butterfly Lover❤ Amo Borboletas

    DNF 40%. NOT invested in the protagonists + Bitter and somehow boring storyline + Unlikable ex-alcoholic main protagonist + Violence = Abandoned.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    My first Lisa Gardner book! Loved it! I can not wait to read all her previous works! I loved Frankie who is a somewhat normal person, a recovering alcoholic traveling from place to place finding missing persons when police and other local resources have pretty much given up. In this book, Frankie is looking for a girl in a tough Haitian neighborhood in Boston. She takes a job bartending and lives on top of the bar to infiltrate herself in the city and get to know the town. There were a lot of twi My first Lisa Gardner book! Loved it! I can not wait to read all her previous works! I loved Frankie who is a somewhat normal person, a recovering alcoholic traveling from place to place finding missing persons when police and other local resources have pretty much given up. In this book, Frankie is looking for a girl in a tough Haitian neighborhood in Boston. She takes a job bartending and lives on top of the bar to infiltrate herself in the city and get to know the town. There were a lot of twists and great character development, I loved Frankie. I can’t wait to see who she finds next. Thanks to Edelweiss for my advanced ebook copy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    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. I flew through this standalone from Lisa Gardner like I was an elite runner in the Boston Marathon. Frankie is a flawed, but fascinating protagonist. She has come to Boston to help find a missing teenager. This is her fifteenth missing persons case. Maybe this will be the first one she finds alive. Frankie 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. I flew through this standalone from Lisa Gardner like I was an elite runner in the Boston Marathon. Frankie is a flawed, but fascinating protagonist. She has come to Boston to help find a missing teenager. This is her fifteenth missing persons case. Maybe this will be the first one she finds alive. Frankie has some intuitive detective skills and is a genius at interrogation. Would love to see another Frankie Elkin book if Gardner should choose to write it. Thank you to Dutton and Edelweiss+ for making a DRC available in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    It has been a while since we’ve had a new standalone book from Lisa Gardner (her Detective D.D. Warren Series is a favorite) and Before She Disappeared does not disappoint. Set in Mattapan, an area in Boston with a large Haitian population, we meet Frankie Elkin. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic who is running from her past. She has failed in relationships and having stability in her life. But what she has succeeded in is finding missing people. Seeking no money or media recognition, she choose It has been a while since we’ve had a new standalone book from Lisa Gardner (her Detective D.D. Warren Series is a favorite) and Before She Disappeared does not disappoint. Set in Mattapan, an area in Boston with a large Haitian population, we meet Frankie Elkin. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic who is running from her past. She has failed in relationships and having stability in her life. But what she has succeeded in is finding missing people. Seeking no money or media recognition, she chooses to help find young women no one is looking for anymore. So far, she’s found 14 people but none of them were found alive. She is determined to find Angelique Badeau and find her alive. Angelique is 15 years old and it's been almost a year since she disappeared one day after school without a trace. She had been living with her brother with her aunt. Her mother remained in Haiti. An excellent student with plans to go to college, the Boston Police have no clues on what has happened to Angelique. Much to the initial annoyance of Detective Dan Lothan, who had been working the case, Frankie approaches things in a fresh manner and starts getting valuable, new information from family and friends. Lothan quickly realizes she has her impressive skills and they form an unusual partnership. Before She Disappeared is a well-written, multi-layered mystery which will keep you engaged throughout. The characters are fresh and appealing. The dialogue is sharp. Frankie is a flawed heroine worth caring about and rooting for. I’m hoping we’ll see her again. Many thanks to Edelweiss, Dutton / Penguin Random House and Ms. Gardner for the opportunity to read this enjoyable book in advance of its January 19, 2021 release date. Rated 4.5 Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

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