Love You More

Love You More by Lisa Gardner

WHO DO YOU LOVE? One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defence, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter? AND HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO . . . As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge to break through the blue wall of police brotherhood, seeking to understand the inner workings of a trooper’s mind while also unearthing family secrets. Would a trained police officer truly shoot her own husband? And would a mother harm her own child? . . . TO SAVE HER? For Tessa Leoni, the worst has not yet happened. She is walking a tightrope, with nowhere to turn, no one to trust, as the clock ticks down to a terrifying deadline. She has one goal in sight, and she will use every ounce of her training, every trick at her disposal, to do what must be done. No sacrifice is too great, no action unthinkable. A mother knows who she loves. And all others will be made to pay. Love you more . . .

I have to be honest here …I’ve just about recovered from reading this book! Love You More by bestselling author Lisa Gardner is an edge of your seat psychological thriller that promises so much – just by the cover art alone – and unquestionably delivers and together with an ending most authors would envy, this is one hell of a story! I hadn’t realised until I read the author notes at the end of the book that Love You More is the fifth adventure in the D.D. Warren series – a bull headed, no-nonsense, detective with one thing on her mind – to find those responsible for killing a young girl and her father…..or is it?!

Love You More is available in Hardback and Kindle

The book follows two paths, that of Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren and her partner Bobby Dodge and State Trooper Tessa Leoni whose tale is told in the first person narrative throughout. When we first encounter Leoni she’s up to her neck in trouble. Standing in her kitchen she apparently shoots her husband Brian – three times, centre mass – dead. Claiming self-defence against a wife beater, she has her work cut out for her as Warren investigates the crime determined to send the trooper to prison.

What follows is a rollercoaster of a police procedural that will mystify, leaving you breathless as Gardner takes you one way, then the next, and just about when you’re sure you have it all worked out she changes direction and adds another dimension.

Who Do you Love?

Character development is incredibly powerful and one of the things I really enjoyed about Love You More was the way Gardner shaped her characters. As I’ve already mentioned the two main protagonists in the book are Warren and Leoni and considering the fact that when we first meet Leoni, despite being a State Trooper holding a position of authority and respect, she takes on the role of a killer and by rights should therefore be a horrible, evil character. Truth be told she’s not. I found her to be an intelligent woman who clearly loves her daughter and would do anything to protect her family and clear her name – in and out of prison. As we get to know the trooper we discover just how ingenious she is and her journey in this book is one not to be missed.

Both main characters had plenty of depth but Leoni pipped it for me. Warren on the other hand – also a cop – had an attitude problem from the very beginning and I have to say I didn’t warm to her as a person throughout! Does that mean I side with killers over investigating officers? In this case yes! Arrogant, rude, forceful and powerful, Warren is an enigma that will take me a few books to enjoy.  Is there something about the underdog we love to back? Having said that, I can see why Gardiner has cast the detective in the leading roll. A little like marmite; you’ll either love her or hate her in this book!

The narrative is exceptionally slick and well thought out. A highly intelligent prose sucks you in from the opening pages and never relaxes its grip until the final throws of the story are a distant memory.

Love You More is an exceptional novel. Highly recommended, and although part of a long standing series, it most certainly works well as a standalone. I’d only wished I had discovered Gardner earlier! Brilliant.

Published by Orion, Love You More is available in Hardback and Kindle

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