BOOK REVIEW: Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

Title: Before She Disappeared
Author: Lisa Gardner
Publication: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 395

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

It is not secret that I am a fan of Lisa Gardner. I have read every book she has ever written and published, including those written under Alicia Scott. So you would think I am extremely biased, but I assure you I am not. If I don’t like a book, I will definitely tell you. She has had a few that I didn’t love as much as others and said so. Before She Disappeared is a new favorite.

The story follows Frankie Elkin who is probably my favorite Lisa Gardner character now. I am a huge fan of her D.D. Warren books, but Frankie is such a free spirit that is so tormented. She travels the country searching for the lost and missing that no one else seems to want to find anymore. She is seriously haunted by her past and seems to be chasing something to make up for whatever has happened before.

She is looking for Angelique who went missing after school one day. As she digs, we become friends with her boss Stoney at the local watering hole, the detective on the case, local Dunkin Donuts staff, and some community members. I don’t know what it was, but I absolutely love all of them. I think their stories are fascinating and the community support is interesting. Even though they are all from different areas, when it comes to finding a missing girl from their neighborhood, almost everyone is willing to ignore the fact that it’s a middle aged white woman asking questions around their highly ethnic neighborhood. She’s an outsider, but one that could help them.

The mystery itself had me flipping pages almost faster than I could read. I needed to know what was happening next. There’s a little love story you are cheering on while Frankie is literally walking around Boston to find this missing girl that nobody is really looking for anymore. Almost instantly she stirs up interest in her by asking the right questions to the right people. There is so much tension throughout this book it definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Lisa Gardner is known for her impeccable story telling and Before She Disappeared surpassed all my expectations for this book. It was dirty, gritty, scary (at times), suspenseful, hopeful, and kind of sad. I experienced every aspect of feelings you can imagine. I love these characters and I’m hopeful Gardner will write more stories about Frankie Elkin and her search for missing girls. We learned so much about her life and now I want to know more.

If you love thriller novels and haven’t read a Lisa Gardner book, I am not sure what rock you have been living under. There are a ton of great stories from her, but check out Before She Disappeared first. You will absolutely not be able to put it down. I devoured it and am wanting more.


Pick up your copy of Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. You can check out more of author Lisa Gardner’s novel on her website HERE.

Check out more of our reviews of Gardner’s previous novels, including When You See Me, Never Tell and Look For Me, among many others.

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