Psychological Thriller Book Review: Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Find Her: The Story

Find Her Lisa Gardner Thriller

Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Imagine waking up one morning to unusual surroundings; to be stuck in a small space with no light and no idea what has happened to you.

This is the nightmare that Flora Dane finds her in after partying too hard in Florida during Spring Break. 

“When you first wake up in a dark wooden box, you’ll tell yourself this isn’t happening….You’re alone in the box.  It’s frightening.  Overwhelming.  Awful.  Mostly because you don’t yet understand how much you have to fear.” (pg.1)

Imagine then, finding yourself being held captive but a truly grotesque creature, one that smells disgusting, and turns your stomach.  An individual that believes it is his right to keep you for himself, strip you of your identity, torture you until you lose all self respect and then use you as his play thing in which ever manner he sees fit.

This was Flora Dane’s life.  For four hundred and seventy-two days , this fun-loving, attractive student was forced to do things that would make her own mother ashamed of her if ever she found out – so how is she meant to live with herself now that it is all over, knowing what she knows.

“In the beginning, I cried.  Which in time led to a sort of mindless humming, making noise for the sake of making noise, because it’s hard to be alone in a dark wooden box…

The pain was the worst.  The relentless hard surface denting the soft spot of the back of my skull, straining my lower back, bruising my bony heels…

I cried.  I rallied against God.  I begged for someone, anyone to save me.

But only in the beginning.

Slowly but surely…I began to think, plot, scheme.

One way or another, I was getting out of this.  I’d do whatever it took to survive.” (pg 23-24)

After reading this, you have to wander, what did Flora do in order to survive?  Or, perhaps another question to ask is, did the real Flora, the easy-going, carefree Flora from before the kidnapping, survive at all?

We all understand that life can be hard, but when you have experienced something as ghastly as this, how does it affect your future?

Do you even, truly have a future?

Returning to normal life, falling back into the same routine as you once had I can only imagine would be impossible.  So it is hardly surprising that Flora herself needed a change of lifestyle. 

Far away from her mother’s farm, where she was once an untroubled child playing with the foxes, Flora has moved to Boston in order to create a new life for herself.  Taking self-defense classes, learning how to pick a lock and reading articles on survival skills would lead to many saying that perhaps she hasn’t quite got over her captivity; Flora on the other hand sees it in a different light.

She was once a helpless young girl who needed rescuing; now she is the person willing to rescue others.

Flora has become a vigilante of sorts, seeking out lost girls in need of a knight-in-shining-armour.

One girl in particular has become an obsession for her; Stacey Summers went missing several months ago after a night out.  CCTV shows her being taken by a large guy but to date no-one has any leads to follow. 

Aware that she is putting herself in danger, Flora decides to take matters into her own hands and heads off for a night out at a club, near to where Stacey disappeared in the hope that she alone can find some answers.

However, rather than finding answers all Flora succeeds in doing is creating more questions. 

Thanks to a rather over-bearing guy who thought that, because he had brought her a couple of drinks he could then take her home for the evening, she has ended up outside the bar causing a fight between him and the bartender with “the kind of pecs that produced big tips” (pg. 5).

Rather than beginning her very own knight-in-shining-armour however, Devon Goulding turns out to be a person-of-interest.  He may have saved her from the idiot who has kept her in pomegranate martinis all evening but it turns out that he is also potentially the large guy from the CCTV footage who forcefully leads her away from the bar, knocking her out before holding her prisoner in a cellar.

What Devon Goulding hasn’t yet realised though is that Flora is no easy target.  Unlike the other girls that he may have taken, this one is prepared to fight, even if it costs her the life of the one person that could lead her to Stacey Summers.

Dectective D.D. of the BPD’s homicide unit, is furious when she discovers what Flora has been up to.  Not only has she been putting herself at risk but she has now potentially jeopardized the lives of others.  Unable to contain her annoyance she wants to personally charge Flora for interfering with an ongoing police inquiry – there is just one small problem – it would appear that she has disappeared yet again.

Where to this time?  Has she herself become the target of a kidnapping ring or has she simply run off to create havoc elsewhere?

Find Her: Our Thoughts

This is a novel of twists and numerous narratives.  One moment you will be reading about the present-day investigations of D.D and her team, before flashing-back to a time when Flora was held captive by a man called Jacob Ness.  It is a narrative of intricately woven plots that eventually all come together.

As a reader, you are desperate to know what Flora did whilst being held captive by Jacob Ness and some may even begin to question whether Flora has more to do with the disappearance of Stacey then she is prepared to let on.

This is a dark thriller highlighting that bad things can happen to good people on more than one occasion. 

With its well thought out plot and gradual development of characters Find Her is a novel that becomes addictive from the very beginning.

Have you read any of Lisa Gardner’s novels?  Have you read something with a similar story-line that you feel may appeal to others?  We would love to hear your suggestions.

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