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Review: ‘Crash & Burn’ is emotional thriller

February 3, 2015

“Crash & Burn” (Dutton), by Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner delivers another gut-wrenching emotional thriller with her latest psychological tale, “Crash & Burn.”

Nicky Frank survives a horrendous car crash in the early morning hours, and she crawls up a hillside to flag down anyone for help. When the authorities arrive and she’s being taken away in an ambulance, Nicky begs the medics and police officers to find her daughter, Vero. But authorities begin to question her story when a tracking dog can find no evidence of anyone else being in the car when it went over the embankment.

Then her husband tells them the couple doesn’t have a daughter and Nicky has created the memory due to a rare brain injury she sustained after falling down some stairs months earlier. Her illness is called post concussive syndrome, and her delusions seem to be getting worse.

As the police dig further into Nicky’s life, they realize the couple’s stories don’t add up. The car crash might have been deliberate, and Nicky has had an unlikely number of accidents.

Who is telling the truth, and what is the lie?

This story is like an onion: Peel away a layer and another aspect of the mystery is revealed. Just when the reader figures out what’s going on, Gardner takes that revelation and turns it into a surprise or shock. Readers might think they know each section of that onion, but Gardner has several tricks up her sleeve, creating a flavorful soup unlike any other. “Crash & Burn” is Gardner’s most unpredictable novel to date.




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