The last Lisa Gardner book I read was 'Gone', a handful of years ago, so I was keen to read this new standalone novel, and 'Crash and Burn' IS a standalone novel. Whilst it does feature one of Gardner's serial protagonists Tessa Leoni, 'Crash & Burn' is very clearly Nicky's story. Any of Gardner's fans looking for the next in the series may be disappointed with this book, although there are a few little hints on where the next Leoni book is going. For anyone who hasn't read her books before, this is a good place to start, as it does introduce popular characters and showcase her writing well.
We first meet Nicky, lost, disorientated, escaping from the car she has just crashed, and desperately searching for Vero, the young girl she knows she has to find. After a fruitless police search for the girl we discover that Nicky has suffered several head traumas, and that Vero doesn't exist. So why does Nicky believe so vehemently that she does? And why does she fear her husband?
In 'Crash and Burn' Gardner layers these mysteries, on top of mystery after mystery, mixing the truths, lies and half lies deeply in the cracks of Nicky's fractured mind. It's been so cleverly done that reading Nicky's unravelling feels like untangling a string of Christmas lights. Just when you think you've got them all straight, you discover another bundle of knots, and you live through Nicky's frustration every time this happens to her.
It's a great read that will have you more determined than Nicky to get to the truth of what has happened to her, ensuring that the pages fly by.