Love You More by Lisa Gardner

I love a good suspenseful mystery with strong women characters. And Lisa Gardner’s Love You More certainly fills the bill.

Police find State Trooper Tessa Leoni in her house, her husband lying on the kitchen floor, dead from gunshot wounds, she, badly beaten herself, and with her precious daughter Sophie missing. Detective D.D. Warren, however, doesn’t buy the victim story of Tessa being beaten by her husband and her killing her husband in self-defense. Something doesn’t add up, and those somethings begin to grow. What really happened? Where is little Sophie? Detective Warren thinks Leoni killed both her husband and Shphie intentionally, and is covering up her actions in a methodical way. Why was the body frozen downstairs and moved up to the kitchen a day later?  Why doesn’t anyone believe that the husband would beat his wife? Why didn’t Leoni, a trained officer, wound her husband rather than kill him?

While searching desperately for Sophie and trying to solve this case, Detective D.D. Warren has her own personal issue: she discovers she is pregnant. Here we get a glimpse of the person behind the strong, hardworking, no nonsense officer. But it doesn’t stop her from working every angle and trying to uncover the truth.

We also learn much about the other strong character, State Trooper Tessa Leoni, someone you will again see in Gardner’s newest book, Touch & Go. In Tessa’s own words you learn of her rough start in life, her sweet marriage gone bad, and her personal struggle for self-esteem. And what lengths Tessa will go to find her daughter. Oh, yes, she’s looking too! Who really killed Brian? And why? Who stole the money from the State Troopers Fund? It looks a lot like Tessa, but as plots thicken, Warren’s instincts about Tessa’s guilt begin to unravel. This is what Gardner does best — adding big twists to her plots, and often you aren’t sure who is good and who is bad. Excellent combinations in a suspense novel!

Although Gardner’s books often have a formulaic outline, you still struggle to figure out what REALLY happened. A great read, both in audio and in print.

This is the fifth in the Detective D. D. Warren series, which begins with Alone.

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