In bestseller Gardner's engaging if highly disturbing 10th thriller, Delilah Rose is a Georgia prostitute familiar with pregnant FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy ("beautiful, brainy, and pedigreed") through Kimberly's well-publicized nabbing of the Eco-Killer in The Killing Hour(2003). Delilah asks the detective to investigate her friend Ginny Jones's possible abduction by a creepy-crawly john who calls himself Dinchara, an anagram of "arachnid." Delilah, however, turns out not to be who she claims she is, and her ties to the spider-obsessed killer are more complicated than she'll admit. As the missing persons count rises, some readers may have trouble keeping track of the time sequence amid the shifting points-of-view. Still, Gardner delivers a satisfying resolution in line with what her fans have come to expect: a suspenseful freak show wrapped up with a neatly tied bow. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Say Goodbye (FBI Profiler Series #6)by Lisa Gardner
The bestselling author of Hide and Gone draws us into the venomous mind games of a terrifying killer.
Come into my parlor . . .
For Kimberly Quincy, FBI Special Agent, it all starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly about her johns is too horrifying to be true—but prostitutes are/i>/b>/i>/i>/i>
The bestselling author of Hide and Gone draws us into the venomous mind games of a terrifying killer.
Come into my parlor . . .
For Kimberly Quincy, FBI Special Agent, it all starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly about her johns is too horrifying to be true—but prostitutes are disappearing, one by one, with no explanation, and no one but Kimberly seems to care.
Said the spider to the fly . . .
As a member of the Evidence Response Team, dead hookers aren’t exactly Kimberly’s specialty. The young agent is five months pregnant—she has other things to worry about than an alleged lunatic who uses spiders to do his dirty work. But Kimberly’s own mother and sister were victims of a serial killer. And now, without any bodies and with precious few clues, it’s all too clear that a serial killer has found the key to the perfect murder . . . or Kimberly is chasing a crime that never happened.
Kimberly’s caught in a web more lethal than any spider’s, and the more she fights for answers, the more tightly she’s trapped. What she doesn’t know is that she’s close—too close—to a psychopath who makes women’ s nightmares come alive, and if he has his twisted way, it won’t be long before it’ s time for Kimberly to . . .
“A spider-obsessed killer is hunting Atlanta prostitutes…. He’s seriously scary and the flashbacks to his abusive past achieve a ripped-from-the-headlines authenticity.”—Entertainment Weekly
" Haunting.... Gardner has consistently delivered entertaining and suspenseful novels in recent years, but she's gone one better with Say Goodbye, perhaps her best book yet."—Chicago Sun-Times
“Should have a warning label: ‘Read only in a well-lit room that has first been thoroughly checked for spiderwebs.’ Then, you can settle back and get caught up in a story that is truly a stunner of a suspense novel.”–Tulsa World
“Gardner continue[s] to write fascinating, dark characters…. [She] surprises you right up until the end.”–Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“For all readers who likes their thrillers suspenseful, fast paced, and just a little creepy (OK, a lot creepy).”—Booklist
"Lock the doors before you open this book, and hope that the only web being woven around you is Lisa Gardner’s mesmerizing story."—Tess Gerritsen
“Engaging if highly disturbing.”—Publishers Weekly
Read an Excerpt
THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT NO ONE TELLS YOU, THAT YOU must experience in order to learn:
It only hurts the first few times. You scream. You scream and you scream and you scream until your throat is raw and your eyes swollen and you taste a curious substance in the back of your throat that is like bile and vomit and tears all rolled into one. You cry for your mother. You beg for God. You don't understand what is happening. You can't believe it is happening.
And yet, it is happening.
And so, bit by bit, you fall silent.
Terror doesn't last forever. It can't. It takes too much energy to sustain. And in truth, terror occurs when you are confronted with the unknown. But once it has happened enough, you have been systematically violated, beaten, cowed, it's not unknown, is it? The same act that once shocked you, hurt you, shamed you with its perversity, becomes the norm. This is your day now. This is the life you lead. This is who you have become.
A specimen in the collection.
"Spiders are always on the lookout for prey, but predators are also on the lookout for spiders. Clever disguises and quick getaways help keep spiders out of trouble."
FROM Spiders and Their Kin,
BY HERBERT W. AND LORNA R. LEVI, A GOLDEN GUIDE FROM ST. MARTIN'S PRESS, 2002
"WE GOT A PROBLEM."
"No kidding. Widespread production of methamphetamines, a middle class that keeps falling further and further behind, not to mention all the ruckus over global warming . . ."
"No, no, no. A real problem."
Kimberly sighed. They'd been working this crime scene for three days now. Long enough that she no longer noticed the smell of burning jet fuel and charcoaled bodies. She was cold, dehydrated, and had a stitch in her side. It would take a lot, in her opinion, to qualify as a real problem at this point.
She finished up the last swig of bottled water, then turned away from the tent city that currently comprised command central, and faced her teammate. "All right, Harold. What's the problem?"
"Uh-uh. Gotta see it to believe it."
Harold didn't wait for her answer, but set off at a half-jog, leaving Kimberly no choice but to follow. He trotted along the outside of the crime scene perimeter that surrounded what had once been a bucolic green field, bordered by thick woodlands. Now, half the treetops had been sheared off, while the pasture contained a deep, jagged scar of earth that ended in a blackened fuselage, crumpled John Deere tractor, and twisted right wing.
As crime scenes went, plane crashes were particularly messy. Sprawling in size, contaminated with biohazards, booby-trapped with jagged bits of metal and shattered glass. The kind of scene that threatened to overwhelm even the most seasoned evidence collector. Mid afternoon of day three, Kimberly's team had finally passed the holy-crap-where-to-begin stage and was now cruising into the job-well-done-be-home-tomorrow-night-for-dinner phase of the documenting process. Everyone was popping less Advil, enjoying longer lunch breaks.
None of which explained why Harold was currently leading Kimberly away from command central, the hum of the generator, the bustle of dozens of investigators simultaneously working a scene . . .
Harold continued to lope along a straight line. Fifty yards, a hundred yards. Half a mile down . . .
"Harold, what the hell?"
"Five more minutes. You can do it."
Harold increased his pace. Kimberly, never one to cry uncle, gritted her teeth and followed. They hit the end of the crime scene perimeter, and Harold turned right into the small grove of trees that had started the whole mess, the taller ones forming jagged white spikes pricking the overcast winter sky.
"Better be good, Harold."
"If this is to show me some kind of rare moss or endangered grass species, I will kill you."
"I don't doubt it."
Harold dashed and ducked around shattered trees. Bobbed and weaved through the thick underbrush. When he finally stopped, Kimberly nearly ran into his back.
"Look up," Harold ordered.
Kimberly looked up. "Ah shit. We have a problem."
FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy was the total package—beautiful, brainy, and pedigreed, right down to a legendary former FBI profiler father whose name was linked to the likes of Douglas and Ressler in Academy halls. She had shoulder-length dusky blond hair, bright blue eyes, and fine patrician features—a gift from her dead mother, who was the source of the second set of rumors that would follow Kimberly for the rest of her career.
At five foot six, with a thin, athletic build, Kimberly was known for her physical endurance, proficiency with firearms, and intense dislike of personal touch. She was not one of those teammates who inspired love at first sight, but she certainly commanded respect.
Now entering her fourth year at the Atlanta Field Office of the FBI, finally assigned to Violent Crimes (VC) and team leader to one of Atlanta's three Evidence Response Teams (ERTs), her career was firmly on track—or at least had been until five months ago. Though that wasn't entirely true, either. She no longer participated in firearms training, but other than that, it was business as usual. After all, today's Bureau considered itself to be an enlightened government organization. All about equity and fairness and gender rights. Or, as the agents liked to quip, it wasn't your father's FBI anymore.
At the moment, Kimberly had larger problems to consider. Starting with the severed leg dangling in a giant rhododendron bush ten feet outside their crime scene perimeter.
"How the hell did you even see that?" Kimberly asked now, as she and Harold Foster hustled back to command central.
"Birds," Harold said. "Kept seeing a flock of them startle from that grove. Which made me think a predator had to be around. Which made me think, what would attract a predator to such an area? And then . . ." He shrugged. "You know how it goes."
Kimberly nodded, though being a city girl herself, she didn't really know how it went. Harold, on the other hand, had grown up in a log cabin and used to work for the Forestry Service. He could track a bobcat, skin a deer, and forecast the weather based on the moss patterns on a tree. At six one and one hundred seventy pounds, he resembled a telephone pole more than a lumberjack, but he considered twenty miles a day-hike, and when the Atlanta ERTs had worked the Rudolph crime scene—the Atlanta Olympic Park bomber—Harold had made it to the remote campsite an hour ahead of the rest of the crew, which had still been struggling up the densely wooded, forty-five-degree incline.
"You gonna tell Rachel?" Harold was asking now. "Or do I have to?"
"Oh, I think you should take all the credit."
"No, no, really, you're the team leader. Besides, she won't hurt you."
He stressed the last sentence more than he needed to. Kimberly understood what he meant. And of course he was right.
She rubbed her side, and pretended she didn't resent it.
The problem had started on Saturday, when a 727 had taken off from the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport at 6:05 a.m. With three crew members and a belly full of mail, it was due to arrive in Atlanta at 7:20 a.m. Conditions were damp and foggy, with potential for ice.
What exactly had gone wrong was left for the NTSB to sort out. But shortly after 7:15 a.m., during the initial approach to the runway, the 727 had descended, clipped the right wing on the top of a dense grove of trees, and careened into a farmer's field, where it did an aviator's version of a cartwheel, nailing one combine, two trucks, and a tractor, while raining metallic debris down a half-mile-long skid that ended with the fuselage bursting into flame.
By the time emergency vehicles had arrived, the crew members had perished and all that was left was the minor detail of processing a mile-long debris field that involved three human remains, one plane, four pieces of farming equipment, and a blizzard's worth of U.S. mail. The NTSB moved in to manage the scene. And per the "Memorandum of Understanding" between the NTSB and the FBI, Atlanta's three ERTs were mobilized to assist with evidence collection.
First thing FBI Senior Team Leader Rachel Childs had done was establish the perimeter. Rule of thumb for explosions and airline crashes—perimeter is set up fifty percent of the distance from the scene of the primary explosion to the farthest piece of evidence. So if the final piece of evidence is a hundred yards out, the perimeter is one hundred and fifty yards out. Or, in this case, the perimeter stretched two and a half miles long and half a mile wide. Not your normal the-butler-did-it-in-the-library-with-a-candlestick-leaving-behind-one-chalk-outline crime scene.
And absolutely perfect for the FBI's latest and greatest toy, the Total Station.
Modified from the standard surveyor's tool used by road crews, the Total Station was a laser-sighted gun, linked to special crime scene software. It turned data collection into literally a pull of a trigger, while spitting out up-to-the-minute 3-D models for death investigators to pore over at the end of each shift.
The process was relatively simple, but labor intensive. First, dozens of crime scene technicians worked the scene, flagging each piece of evidence, then classifying it—plane part, human remain, personal effect. Next, a designated "rod man" placed a glass reflector on each piece of tagged evidence. Finally, the "gun operator" homed in on the reflector and pulled the trigger, entering the evidence into the software's database from distances up to three miles away, while the "spotter/recorder" oversaw the operation, detailing and numbering each item entered into evidence.
Everyone worked hard, and next thing you knew, a sprawling chaos of wreckage had been reduced into a neat computer model that almost made sense out of the vagaries of fate. It was enough to make any anal-retentive control freak happy, and Kimberly was guilty on both counts. She loved being rod man, though this time out, she'd had to content herself with recording duties instead.
The command center came into view. Kimberly spotted a cluster of white shirts and navy blue suits—the NTSB officials, poring over a huge blueprint of the original 727; then a pool of Windex blue—half a dozen crime scene techs, still wearing their hazmat gear; and finally, a pinprick of burnished copper. Rachel Childs, redhead, ERT senior team leader, and rabid perfectionist.
Kimberly and Harold ducked beneath the crime scene tape.
Harold whispered, "Good luck."
Supervisory Special Agent Childs had set out to become a famous Chicago architect. At the last minute, she'd decided to join the FBI instead. She ended up assisting one of Chicago's finest evidence gurus, and that was that, Rachel had found her calling in life. Her attention to detail, ability to sketch to scale, and obsession with paperwork had proven much more valuable to evidence documentation than it had to further beautification of Chicago's skyline.
That had been fifteen years ago, and she'd never looked back. At five foot nothing, one hundred and four pounds, she was one small, dedicated, hell-on-wheels Nancy Drew. Who was about to commit her first murder.
"How the hell could you have missed something as major as a human leg?" she roared.
She, Kimberly, and Harold had stepped away from the gathered masses, to the relative shelter of a noisy generator. Rachel only dressed down her team members in private. Her team was her family. She could know they were fuckups. She could tell them they were fuckups. It was no one's business, however, but their own.
"Well, the leg's in a bush," Harold ventured finally. "Beneath a tree. It's not that easy to see."
"It's February. Leaves are long gone. It should've been visible."
"It's in a grove of pine," Kimberly said. "Harold led me straight to it. I still couldn't see anything until he pointed it out. Frankly, I'm impressed he saw it at all."
Harold shot her a grateful look. Kimberly shrugged. He'd been right, Rachel wouldn't go too hard on Kimberly. She might as well spread the magic around.
"Crap," Rachel grumbled. "Day three, we should be wrapping up this mess, not restarting our efforts. Of all the stupid, amateurish . . ."
"It happens. Oklahoma City, the Nashville crash. These big scenes, it's amazing we can wrap our arms around them at all." Kimberly again.
"Still . . ."
"We adjust the perimeter. We refocus our search on the western side. It'll cost us another day, but with any luck, one random leg is all we missed."
Now, however, Rachel's frown had deepened. "Wait a minute, you're sure it's a human leg?"
"I've seen legs before," Harold said.
"Me, too," Kimberly agreed.
But Rachel was suddenly holding her temples. "Ah crap! We're not missing any body parts! We recovered three sets of human remains from the intact cockpit just this morning. And since I oversaw the effort, I know for a fact we had all six legs."
Harold looked at both of them. "Told you we had a problem."
They took a camera, flashlights, gloves, a rake, and a tarp. A mini evidence kit. Rachel wanted to see the "leg" for herself. Maybe they'd get lucky—it would turn out to be a scrap of fabric, or the torn arm from a life-size dummy, or better yet, the back hock of a deer some hunter had dressed up in clothing just to be funny. In Georgia, stranger things had happened.
With only two hours of daylight left, they moved quickly but efficiently through the copse of trees.
They combed the ground first to make sure they didn't step on anything obvious. Then, adjusting slightly, Harold and Kimberly caught the item in the combined beams of their flashlights, illuminating it within the shadows of the overgrown bushes. Rachel knocked out half a dozen digital photos. Next came the tape measure and compass, recording the approximate size of the bush, relationship to the nearest fixed point, distance from their current perimeter.
Finally, when they had documented everything but the hoot of a barn owl and the way the wind tickled the backs of their necks, like a shiver waiting to slide beneath their Tyvek coveralls, Harold reached up and carefully eased the item onto the cradling teeth of his rake. Rachel quickly unfolded the tarp. Harold lowered his find into the middle of a sea of blue plastic. They studied it.
"Crap," Rachel said.
It was definitely a leg, sheared off above the knee with the top of the femur bone glinting white against the blue tarp. From the size of it, probably male, clad in blue denim.
"You're sure all three remains were intact?" Kimberly asked. She hadn't gotten to do any evidence collection this time out. She liked to think it didn't irk her, but it did. Especially now, when it seemed something obvious had been overlooked. "I mean, the cockpit was badly burned, the condition of the bodies couldn't have been great."
Meet the Author
Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and The Neighbor, winner of the International Thriller Writers’ Award. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.
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This is a really great read. Yes it is a brutal and disturbing read, but don't listen to people who say don't read Say Goodbye because the child abuse is so detailed. Children are abused in everyway everyday. I am happy to know that Lisa Gardner isn't afraid to remind her readers that child abuse is a real problem. So if you start to read this book and you put it down because this book goes against your morals then you are just basically turning your cheek the other way on a very serious problem. Don't be afraid to read this book because its disturbing. It should be diturbing. It should make you want to reach out to children who are abused. I loved this book it brings out everything people try to sweep under the rug.
I have read and own all of Lisa's books. I recommend them all the time, and give them for gifts frequently. "Say Goodbye" was the most thrill packed so far and I loved all the plot twists. I wish Lisa could write a book a month!
I am not one to read mysteries but I was intrigued with this one. It was given to me as a Christmas gift so I had to give it a try. It does have some gory parts to it but that can be skipped over and not change the view of the plot. I too had some bad dreams during the time I was reading the book. I assumed the dreams were caused by the things I read. Nevertheless, I am glad I read the novel. It was exciting and was well written.
This book has got to be one of my most favorite books of all times. Get this I am terribly affraid of spiders too. When I was reading the reviews about this book before I read it, as I often do; I saw that soemone had mentioned that "if you don't like spiders, don't read this book". Well it is true in a way. I did have nightmares while reading this book particularly about spiders....eww! This book didn't change how scared I am about them but it did however give me respect for them. The plot was very thought out and well planned the only thing is in the end a lot happens at once and I had to go back and re-read some parts to make sure what I read I understood. Lisa has become my new favorite author and I am trying to read more of her books now. If you want a great thriller pick this one up, you'll love it!
I want to start by saying I love Lisa Gardner and all of her books...except this one. It would have been a great book had it not been for the very small child getting raped over and over again. This is a very hard book to read if you have kids or love kids. It was very disturbing. I could not get the mental images out of my head and couldn't sleep. It was horrible. I would not recommend this book to anyone, however I would gladly recommend any one of her other books which are fabulous. She is a great writer, but this was too much for me.
I did not enjoy this book at all. I wasn't disturbed by it, I was simply never compelled to move on. As much as i hated to, at 120 pages in I finally gave up. I couldn't find a single character i enjoyed or cared about. And although I realize it is Lisa Gardner's style to scatter her plot out frim several viewpoints this one was spread far to thin to keep me interested.
This book does have a disturbing story. It is however a book for adults and if one does not understand should not read. It is in my opinion one of her best books. I am not some awful person that has no children. I do have children, but this is just a story. Maybe people need to read things like this to remind them that the world is not a perfect place and people who suspect or know of things should report it instead of wanting to get involved but yet judge everyone else.
I have read several other books by Lisa Gardner and have enjoyed them all. This one, however, was extremely disturbing. Like a previous reviewer, I had to stop reading this one. Reading of child rape and imprisonment is not my idea of an enjoyable book.
Creepy, crawly is the description of this novel and an edge of your seat page turner. Not for the faint of heart nor those who fear spiders. By the middle of this book, I still wasn't sure who was the real killer. I'm glad to see Quincy made it into the storyline, he and Rainie always make for an exciting story. Very exciting.
Welp, my Nook has stopoed charging, and I'm not sure if I'm going to get a new one. I'm sorry, loves. But, I have to say good bye. <p>Jack, I love you, okay? I want to make things better for us. But if you want to move on, I will not stand in your way. I won't. But please, don't forget me. <p>Hush, Sister..I'll miss yoh i will. You'be been woth me every step of the way. Noodles, mh dear friend. <p>Fang: I'll miss the way you insult noobs. :') It's quite funny. We never really talked so..I dunno what to say really. But eat noodles with Hush daily. <p>Greece, Marching Band Clarinet Buddy...you...you stay strong, okay? <p>Rocketa, if you see this, and your heart is still beating, keep it beating for me. I'll miss you. <p>Julia, You don't know..how bad I'm crying right now.....I don:t want to leave yoy. I don:t. I don:t want you to hrt yourself. Pleae...I'll be back soedy... <p>I love you all, and will come here regularly on the computer if I can. I'm about to run out of battery...I'll be back someday..whether it be a year or a month. Bah..I'll miss you guys. ?y only friends....goodbye.
This one pushed the envelope too far. Terribly disturbing.
I enjoyed SAY GOODBYE by Lisa Gardner very much. Yes, it was disturbing and even creepy. But Gardner delivered another great one. I highly recommend it. I now finished the FBI Profiler series and liked them all.
I love books about serial killers & this one did not dissapoint. It sucked me in right from the start. I have read all the other books in this series and love them all! Cannot wait to read the next in the series. This is a must read, be prepared to stay up late until you finish the last page!
no where in the summary does it mention the graphic and horrific details of young boys being kidnapped and raped. as the mother of a young son i was physically sick to my stomach after reading this. i would not recommend this book to anyone!
and I so wish it were entitrly beyond the realm of possibility, but sadly child molestation and child porn thrive.
Say Goodbye's plot is good,but it's not Lisa Gardner's best novel. The book doesn't take place in Boston,it's not nearly as suspenseful as her latest book,The Neighbor. While I give it a five in all rating categories,it's not the best novel she's written.
An arrested prostitute makes it known that she has info for Special Agent Kimberly Quincy of the FBI. Delilah Rose tells her that a john is taking street prostitutes and subjecting them to poisonous spiders and other dangerous activities. Her friend Ginny has disappeared and she's worrite. She tells Kim that when he put a black widow spider on her, the man only let her live when she didn't show fear and scream. Kimberly's associate Sal Martingnetti also is concerned about prostitutes. Two times recently he has had the driver's licenses of three women placed inside the windshield of his car. All the licenses were of prostitutes. They have all vanished but no bodies have been found so it's difficult to get his superiors to permit him to mount an investigation. Dispite being five months pregnant, Kim agrees too help him. One night they follow Delilah to a street where they know Ginny's boyfriend was murdered. When they confront Delilah, she admits that she is really Ginny. She also states that the man she refers to as Dinchara, a play on the word arachnid because of his fetish with spiders. Sal and Kim want to find a way to get Ginny to take them to Dinchara and get enough evidence to convict him of his crimes. Then they find out that Dinchara has a teenage boy helping him and seems to be grooming a younger boy to do the same. Now the mission is to catch Dinchara and rescue the boys. The author knows suspense and has given her readers a story that will mesmerize them until the end. She has an original plot and her characters are well described. Dinchara is not only evil by himself but even more so when he gets children to help him in his crimes. A well done novel that will keep Gardiner's fans coming back for more.
This is so far one of the best book I ever read... I couldn't stop reading each page. It took me only 12 hrs to read this book, it was so good.
Great book. Skips around some. Almost every chapter is from a different point of view, but it all comes to a GREAT and shocking ending. If you truly hate spiders it is going to be a tough book to get though. Totally worth the read though.
This was her best book yet. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. The plot was great and kept you guessing who the serial killer really was. A very trick ending from a terrific writer.
FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy became somewhat famous for her capture of the infamous Eco-Killer (see The Killing Hour). Thus Atlanta hooker Delilah Rose turns to her with a story that seems more like fiction. Delilah insists that a John calling himself Dinchara is abducting prostitutes. She fears Dinchara, who¿s allegedly obsessed with spiders as evident by the reverse spelling of his moniker, has kidnapped her best friend Ginny Jones. --- Although pregnant and preferring to ignore the prostitute anyway as there is no evidence that a crime was committed , Kimberly cannot guilt reminds her that her mom and sister were victims of a serial killer. Her inquiries lead to no corpses, more prostitutes missing, and the apparent connection between Delilah and Dinchara that the hooker never mentioned during her interviews Kimberly even begins to wonder if there is such a killer as no solid proof has surfaced. --- SAY GOODBYE is an entertaining FBI thriller in which the switching veiwpoints make for a terrific tale that showcases the dark Atlanta underground (not the site). Kimberly wonders if a crime has been committed as nothing surfaces to affirm that although ironically the audience knows early on whether one occurred. Readers will appreciate this fine tale in which the heroine ponders whether she might be the fly to Dinchara the spider as nothing seems to come together on the ¿Spideyman¿ case. --- Harriet Klausner
This book is awesome. Plenty of suspense and action. Love the ending.
I have read the previous books in this series (except Gone) and after starting this one, I could not finish it. Way too much detail in child rape scenes that was entirely unnecessary. Done with this book and probably this author overall.
What an engrossing, creepy, disturbing serial killer novel. And I loved it! For those who would get squeamish about the child abuse aspect of the story, Ms. Gardner didn't write in the gory details of child abuse. There are specifics, sure, but Ms. Gardner truly left it to the reader's imagination to infer the kind of abuse begat her characters. The detectives are smart (I hate it when smart characters do stupid things) and likable. And while Ms. Gardner sheds light into their personal lives, their history and drama isn't heavy handed that it distracts from the main story, which is a serial murder. Did I mention I loved it? Yeah, great read.