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Review: Lisa Gardner returns with a cracker in ‘Never Tell’

February 26, 2019
This cover image released by Dutton shows "Never Tell," a novel by Lisa Gardner. (Dutton via AP)

“Never Tell” by Lisa Gardner (Dutton).

What seems like a slam-dunk case turns into something mysterious in Gardner’s latest featuring Boston Detective D.D. Warren.

The police receive a report of shots fired inside a home, and when they arrive find a woman holding a gun and standing over a man’s dead body. It is soon determined that the woman is Evie Carter, and her husband is the victim.

Warren arrives on the scene and her initial investigation reveals a weird anomaly: the husband has three bullet holes, but his laptop has 12, making the contents unrecoverable. What makes even less sense is that Warren recognizes the woman from years earlier. Evie was one of her first cases when she joined the police force, which involved her accidentally shooting and killing her father. That case was corroborated by the evidence and an eyewitness.

Evie initially confesses to the crime of murdering her husband, but then claims that she came home to find her husband’s body. She picked up the gun and shot the computer until the gun ran out of bullets. If her story is true, why did she feel the impulse to do something so strange?

To make things more complicated for both the case and Warren, a woman named Flora Dane has some potentially damaging information. Dane was kidnapped for almost two years, and her rescue has compelled her to help the police. She tells Warren that the husband is someone she recognizes from a time when her kidnapper took her to a bar to try to sell her services. Was Evie’s dead husband friends with the man who kidnapped Dane?

Gardner knows how to weave a deeply moving and psychological thriller that pulls no punches in its authenticity. She is one of the masters when it comes to crime fiction. Fans of her novels will consider this one of her best, and newcomers will be in awe of the compelling story and unpredictability of the proceedings.