Never Tell

Written by Lisa Gardner

Review written by Ali Karim

Ali Karim was a Board Member of Bouchercon [The World Crime & Mystery Convention] and co-chaired programming for Bouchercon Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015. He is Assistant Editor of Shots eZine, British correspondent for The Rap Sheet and writes and reviews for many US magazines & Ezines.

Never Tell
RRP: £7.99
Released: June 27 2019

The latest in Gardner’s long-running Boston based series featuring Detective Warren [“DD”] is a welcome addition to the police procedural genre. Never Tell further illustrates the author’s interest in exploring characters within a contemporary case, linked to the events of the past and coupled to well-researched forensic techniques.

Gardner has the enigmatic Flora Dane, return, as does her trauma at the hands of Jacob Ness; a trauma that remains trapped within her mind. The trauma is reawakened when she spots a face on TV, one linked to Jacob Ness, and one from another time. Though the mystery of that face, Conrad Carter relates to another angle.  Carter was shot several times, and his computer peppered with bullet holes. It was Carter’s wife the pregnant teacher Evie who the police find holding the gun that starts the journey back in time.

It seems that D.D. Warren recalls Evie from another shooting, one ruled an accident, the shooting of her Father. Coincidence is something that needs investigating by Detective Warren, especially as Evie was found holding a rifle at the time, sixteen year’s earlier. The death of Evie’s Father (the mathematician) was concluded as a tragedy and Evie exonerated, though marked by that incident.

This time, the pregnant Evie is arrested as D.D. Warren investigates the murder of her husband, salesman Conrad Carter, discovered with three bullet holes. The apparent ‘smoking gun’ is that Evie Carter had gunshot residue on hands.

The face that flashed on the TV screen that reopened Flora Dane’s past trauma; the one linked to the evil Jacob Ness, belonged to the murdered Conrad Carter. This soon results in Flora Dane having to revisit her past trauma, as there appear to have been others affected by the vile Jacob Ness. Enter Computer analyst Keith Edgar and Kimberley Quincy, the FBI agent who freed Dane from Ness all those years ago.

Soon Quincy is in Boston, and working with Detective D.D. Warren as the murder of Conrad Carter appears far more complex than a dispute between a couple, behind the closed curtains of a marriage.

Never Tell, merges three positions of view, from three strong women. We have D.D. Warren, her informant the damaged Flora Dane as well as Evie Carter the woman at the centre, and the woman holding ‘smoking guns’ striating this devious narrative.

Though a delight for readers of the series, those coming fresh to the adventures of D.D. Warren of the Boston P.D. may be at a disadvantage to those familiar to the back stories in previous books. There is character development as well as ‘reveals’ that have roots in the past. Though Never Tell can be read as a stand-alone crime novel about strong women grappling with some very bad men, it is a delight for readers of Gardner who are now what we term fans, series-readers. Particular mention should be made of two preceding novels - 2018’s Look For Me and 2017’s Find Her as Gardner’s latest thriller Never Tell caps a loose trilogy of sorts.

Highly recommended for readers of American police procedural thrillers that feature well developed characters, coupled to elegantly researched forensic investigation technique, as well as the growing readership of Lisa Gardner who will uncover much merit in this complex and dark tale.

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