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I took Lisa Gardner's latest book The Neighbor with me on vacation. Well, rather I took it to kill time during the inevitable airport wait times. And I have to say, this new release from Random House Canada made the time pass pretty quickly!

The Joneses are the perfect family. Young, pretty school teacher mom, bright precocious little girl, handsome, hardworking reporter father.

Jason Jones comes home after a night shift, finds his four year old daughter alone and his wife Sandra gone. He does report it to the police. But when Sergeant D.D. Warren (featured in a previous book Hide) begins to investigate, the perfect picture starts to fade. Jason is less than forthcoming. In fact he seems to be hindering the search, rather than helping. And as D.D. digs further, she can't help but think that Jason is guilty. But their neighbor Aidan is a person of interest as well.

D.D. Warren is an excellent female protagonist. She's quick, tough, with a smart mouth, but has a vulnerable side too.

The story is told from different viewpoints - D.D.'s, Jason's, Aidan's and Sandra's - although her story is told in flashbacks to her past, so we are never sure if she is alive or dead. As a reader, we know far more of what is happening than the police do.

Gardner keeps us on our toes. This is a fantastic psychological thriller that kept me guessing until the very end with a really, really good twist.

Lisa Gardner started out as a romance writer, but has really come into her own as a suspense author. Guaranteed to keep you reading 'just one more page....'
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon June 23, 2009
To simply label this an audio book is a misrepresentation as it is a stellar dramatic presentation with an outstanding cast, a triad of accomplished performers who bring Gardner's suspenseful tale to life.

Actress, singer, writer and director Emily Janice Card is obviously multi-talented. She's the daughter of noted author Orson Scott Card, and may be found leaving interesting notes on her personal blog. With stage experience and a singer's ear she brings both authenticity and understanding to her reading.

Kirby Heyborne has headed features and short films as well as appearing as a regular on TV's Free Ride and Everwood. (Mr. Perkins). He has also released several CDs on which he sings and plays the guitar. His voice is strong, resonant, and a perfect foil for his fellow readers.

TV watchers will remember Kirsten Potter for her roles in Judging Amy and Bones. A graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts (Summa Cum Laude) her voice is melodious, clear, distinct - easy on the ears.
With 11 novels to her credit Lisa Gardner has fashioned an intense thriller propelled by surprising yet plausible twists and turns that keep us reading/listening. A young woman has disappeared. She is Sandra Jones, a pretty teacher, wife of reporter Jason Jones, and mother to four-year-old Ree. Was it a kidnaping? No evidence points to that, and there has been no ransom note. Did she simply walk away? Why when she is apparently an extremely devoted mother? Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren is called upon to answer these questions.

A prime suspect is Jason who isn't acting like a distraught husband devastated by not knowing his wife's fate. In fact, he is uncooperative. However, there are also questionable others - a neighbor, Aidan Brewster, a great looking young fellow, and a convicted sex offender who spent time in prison for raping a young girl. What about a student who may see Sandra as more than a teacher?

We discover more as Gardner relates much of the story in flashback form through the eyes of Sandra herself. What we learn is just enough to keep us securely hooked until the last words. A splendid thriller ingenuously crafted!


- Gail Cooke
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