Sunday, February 26, 2012

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

The blurb:
In four days, someone is going to kill me . . .
Detective D. D. Warren is hard to surprise. But a lone woman outside D.D.'s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she wants Boston's top detective to handle the death investigation.
It will be up close and personal. No evidence of forced entry, no sign of struggle.
Charlie tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours.
But as D.D. quickly learns, Charlie Grant doesn't plan on going down without a fight. By her own admission, the girl can outshoot, outfight, and outrun anyone in Boston. Which begs the question, is Charlie the next victim, or the perfect perpetrator? As D.D. tracks a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie's friends, racing to find answers before the next gruesome January 21 anniversary. Is Charlie truly in danger, or is she hiding a secret that may turn out to be the biggest threat of all?
In four days, someone is going to kill me. But the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first. 

Catch Me is Lisa Gardner's latest DD Warren detective thriller.  With its complex plot and high level of suspense, Catch Me delivers Gardner's characteristic high tension escape. There are carefully placed clues that you suspect might mean something and somehow all come together towards the end.

Catch Me begins with a child being rushed out of a dangerous home.  She's lived with the need to escape, has been trained by her mother to pack and leave at a moment's notice, to move swiftly and silently, and to respond with obedience.  Violence, fire, an emergency call and uncertain escape.

Then we meet Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant ("Charlie"),  a twenty-eight year old woman working as a police dispatch operator in a town outside of Boston.  She'd escaped a violent childhood and was raised by her aunt in Maine.  In the last two years her two best friends have been murdered - both on the same day and with no sign of a struggle or forced entry.  Charlie is convinced that this year will be her year to die and that her death will also happen on Jan. 21.  She's done everything she could think of to prepare - learned to shoot, kept fit, taken defense classes, cut off ties with the aunt she loves, and settled her affairs.  Charlie's kept to herself and while her loneliness overwhelms her at times, she prefers having this level of control.  Charlie can't quite remember her early years but she does know that she'd suffered abuse from her mother's hands.   In an attempt to prevent further deaths, Charlie studies the homicide detectives in Boston/Cambridge and on Jan. 17, she meets Boston Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren, someone she hopes will solve her murder when the time comes.

Detective D.D. Warren is not her usual self as her life's been turned upside down with the arrival of her newborn Jack.  Warren has just returned from her 2 months of maternity leave and hasn't had much sleep or chance to catch up on her paperwork.  The recent execution style murder of a middle-aged white man in a largely African American Boston tenement looked particularly suspicious. An investigation of the man's background and computer lead D.D. Warren and her team to believe that there's a serial killer who is targeting pedophiles.

D.D. Warren finds a cryptic note on her car: "Everyone has to die sometime. Be brave."  She sprints after the suspicious character who was lurking by her car - and meets Charlie. As Warren investigates further, she's thrown by Charlie's claim to be a future murder victim.  Is Charlie a likely murder victim? A likely murderer?  Will there be another murder on Jan 21 - four days from their meeting?

Gardner's skillful blend of suspense and puzzle work exceptionally well in Catch Me. 

ISBN-10: 0525952764- Hardcover $26.95
Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (February 7, 2012), 400 pages.
Review copy courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.

About the Author:
Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen previous novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Love You More, Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and the International Thriller Writers' Award-winning novel The Neighbor. Her FBI profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.

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