Book Review: Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner

Title: Crash & Burn
Author: Lisa Gardner
Published: 3 February 2015
Publisher:  Headline

Twitter: @LisaGardnerBks


My name is Nicky Frank.
I’m in hospital after crashing my car. I am afraid. The only thing that I can think about is Vero. I know I have to save her but why couldn’t I find her? She’s just a little girl.
The man standing in my hospital room tells me we are married but there is no Vero. That six months ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused changes to my personality. I have dramatic mood swings, an inability to concentrate and large gaps in my memory. I’m much easier to anger these days. And I drink. All of which he says explains the car accident and my confusion.
Now a Sergeant Wyatt Foster is investigating. He has questions about the car accident. He has concerns about my husband. And he’s worried about a missing girl.
He would like to know what happened to me. So would I.
My name is Nicky Frank. This is my life.
Watch me crash and burn. 

Thanks to Headline and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Crash & Burn in return for an honest review. 

The story starts with Nicky Frank crawling from the wreckage of her car desperate to find ‘Vero’. Sergeant Wyatt Foster heads the investigation to find the little girl, however there is no sign of another passenger having been in the vehicle. Does Vero actually exist or has she arisen from the mind of a severely concussed woman? What initially seems to be a clear-cut DUI accident turns into a more complex investigation hampered by Nicky’s severe amnesia and her husband’s caginess. Wyatt is soon left with a pile of unanswered questions, all holding the key to the mystery of Nicky’s accident. Was Nicky’s accident really an accident? Is she being abused by her husband? Are they on the run and, if so, from whom? Who is Vero and does she actually exist?
The story varies between Nicky and Wyatt’s point of view. This is interesting because it is immediately obvious that Nicky really is suffering amnesia and is, herself, scared of what she may discover once those memories start to return.
The characters are interesting and crucial to the story. Nicky is a very damaged person, mentally and physically, with a mysterious past. She tells the tale from her viewpoint peppered with memories/imaginary conversations with Vero. Having suffered from a brain injury, she is an unreliable witness, unable to admit even to herself what is and is not real. Her husband, Thomas, appears to be a nice guy but seems to be hiding a lot of secrets from both Wyatt and Nicky. Wyatt is the typical cop, trying to balance his need to solve the case whilst also acting in Nicky’s best interests. You can feel his frustration growing as, rather than finding answers, more questions appear.
The plot is absolutely gripping. The story is hugely suspenseful and filled with twists and turns, puzzles and intrigue at every corner leaving the reader wondering what’s coming next. As Nicky’s memories start to return, it becomes apparent that a traumatic event lies in her past, so horrifyingly dark that her mind is trying to protect her from remembering it. This is certainly not a light-hearted read!
I can honestly say that this was a bloody brilliant read!! It was absolutely thrilling and I simply could not put it down. When I eventually finished it, I felt mentally exhausted from the sheer pace and suspense. My mind really worked overtime to try to solve the puzzle before the end of the book. I did also find some parts ever so slightly ‘creepy’ to the point where one evening I felt too nervous to go to be on my own, having to wait until my husband would come with me!!
This is part of the Tessa Leoni series, however, having never read the earlier books, I am happy to say that this can be read as a standalone novel. There is a bit of overlap when discussing Tessa’s personal circumstances, however that was a very small part of the book and certainly not essential in any way to the story.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a psychological thriller. A truly compelling read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The book is released in electronic format and is currently priced at £5.99 on Amazon UK. The book is also available in hardback from all major booksellers. 

About the Author

Lisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times crime thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, her work as a research analyst for an international consulting firm parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics and twisted plots into a streak of internationally bestselling suspense novels, including her most recent release, Fear Nothing.
With over 22 million books in print, Lisa is published in 30 countries. Her success crosses into the small screen with four of her novels becoming movies (At the Midnight Hour; The Perfect Husband; The Survivors Club; Hide) and personal appearances on television shows (TruTV; CNN).
Lisa Gardner’s novels have also received awards from across the globe. Her novel THE NEIGHBOR was recognized as the Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers in the United States and Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle, prix du policier in France. She was also recognized with the Daphne duMaurior Award presented by RWA in 2000 for THE OTHER DAUGHTER.
Lisa lives in New Hampshire with her auto-racing husband and black-diamond skiing daughter. She spends her days writing in her loft with a gentle old sheltie and a wonderfully silly puppy.


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