The Neighbor, Lisa Gardner (Bantam)

 

Boston police detective D. D. Warren returns in another suspenseful and stylish mystery. A pretty schoolteacher vanishes from her home, leaving behind a young daughter and a husband who doesn’t seem all that broken up over his wife’s disappearance. The first question Warren has to answer is, Was the woman abducted, or did she simply leave? But soon it becomes apparent that her departure was not voluntary, and the suspects begin to mount up: the not-so-grieving husband, who seems to be hiding some pretty big secrets; a neighbor who happens to be a registered sex offender; one of the victim’s students, a boy who might have some misguided feelings for the victim; even the woman’s estranged father, who won’t win any prizes for personality or compassion. But, through narrative passages written in the victim’s voice, the author shows us that the woman herself is deeply troubled and is perhaps not quite the innocent victim she appears to be. This is certainly Gardner’s most complex novel, and it will be a definite treat for her fans.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2009

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