Book Review – GONE by Lisa Gardner


BOOK RATING: The Writing 3 / 5 ;  The Story 4 / 5

BOOK DETAILS: Gone (The Book Depository), Goneir?t=bookbookrevi 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0553588079 ir?t=bookbookrevi 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B003F76HYS(Amazon)

Book Synopsis

Ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy has just been thrown into his worst nightmare. A car has been found abandoned, engine running, purse on the driver’s seat – and his estranged wife, Rainie Conner, has disappeared…Did one of the ghosts from her troubled past finally catch up with Rainie? Or could her disappearance be the result of one of the cases they’d been working – a particularly vicious double homicide or the possible abuse of a deeply disturbed child Rainie took too close to heart?

Together with his daughter, FBI agent Kimberly Quincy, Pierce is racing against time, frantically searching for answers to all the questions he’s been afraid to ask. One man knows what happened that night – and his terms are clear: he wants money, power, celebrity. And if he doesn’t get them, Rainie will be gone for good… (The Book Depository)

My Review

I found this novel a bit of a conundrum. I really enjoyed the story itself. It was a solid mystery thriller, with great momentum, red herrings and plot twists galore. The story itself was a smart one and well formulated. The characters were reasonably well developed also. I also love the cover – that is what attracted me to this novel in the first place. There is something about it – it is moody.

So, what were my reservations? I just think this novel could have done with stronger editing. For instance certain phrases, presumably favourites of Gardner herself, were used multiple times with respect to and by multiple characters. I am probably being a little picky, but as an example, in the middle of a kidnapping it really broke the spell for me when the kidnap victim’s husband was described as ‘being jazzed’ during the hunt for the kidnapper. The term ‘jazzed’ was used a little too often in general for my liking.

Having declared my pickiness in regards to descriptors, I do need to stress that inspite of these issues I didn’t want to put the book down – hence my conundrum.

Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novelir?t=bookbookrevi 20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0553807242The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novelir?t=bookbookrevi 20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0553591908Alone: A Novel of Suspenseir?t=bookbookrevi 20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0553584537The Killing Hourir?t=bookbookrevi 20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0553584529
Have you ever had this issue – really enjoyed the story being told, but found elements of the writing style annoying/distracting?

Have you read this book and had a different experience?

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  1. Mel – You have hit the nail on the head, this type of thing really sells, and I can only guess story driven works are probably much quicker to write, hence perhaps make a better ongoing commercial proposition. I know if I were writing a novel I would probably spend too long wordsmithing and hence probably wouldn't make a good living out of it.

    I also cannot stand too many Aussie colloquialisms – hearing about Vegemite on every second page really turns me off. Another pet hate of mine is gratuitous swearing…

  2. I thought I would try a Di Morrissey novel. They are so popular. I am reading Monsoon. The plot is really interesting, the story is set in Vietnam, and she creates a good sense of place and things happen quickly. My gripe is that the writing, especially the dialogue is really average. There are too many cringey Australian colloquialisms for my liking.

    It is funny but even before I read your review I saw that you were rating the writing and the story separately and really appreciated that alone because of the difficulties I am having with Monsoon. And as you say with Gone, I am finding the story of Monsoon interesting enough to keep me reading, despite my reservations about the loose writing style and unconvincing dialogue.

    What is interesting is that this stuff really sells. But that is a whole other blog post :)

  3. Tony – Yes, it is always hard to assess the writing style on a translated work. For instance, am really enjoying Anna Karenina right now (Constance Garnett translation), but a very minor thing is that the dialogue is throwing me off every once in a while. The rest of the work is very fluid but the dialogue not always so – but perhaps that is a factor of the period the work is set in also.

  4. If you read any of my comments on Banana Yoshimoto's work, you'll find that I love the prose but detest her dialogue; of course, I can't be sure if that's down to Banana or her translator…