A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.
D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman--Evie Carter--from a case many years back. Evie's father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.
Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim--a hostage--and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad's murder.
But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?
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By the time I pull my car into the garage, my hands are shaking on the wheel. I tell myself I have no reason to feel so nervous. I tell myself I've done nothing wrong. I still sit there an extra beat, staring straight ahead, as if some magic answer to the mess that is my life will appear in the windshield.
With a bit of care, I can still slide out of the driver's seat. I'm bigger, but not that much bigger. I fight more with my bulky coat and the strap of my oversized purse, as I ease out from behind the steering wheel. Conrad bought me the purse as a Christmas gift last year. From Coach. Real leather. At least a couple hundred dollars. At the time, I'd been so excited I'd thrown my arms around him and squealed. He'd laughed, told me he'd seen me eyeing the bag in the store and had just known he had to get it for me.
When I'd hugged him then, he'd hugged me back. When I'd laughed that day, and giddily opened up the huge, gray leather bag to explore all the compartments, he'd laughed with me.
Christmas morning. Nearly one year ago.
Had we hugged since? Laughed since?
The bulge in my belly would argue we'd found some way to connect, and yet, if not for the streams of bright colored lights and gaudy decorations covering my neighborhood, I'm not sure it would feel like the holidays at all. As it is, we're one of the last undecorated houses on the block. A wreath on our door; that's it. Each weekend, we promised to get a tree. Each weekend, we didn't.
I take my time hefting my purse over my shoulder. Then I turn and face the door leading from the garage into the house.
Dead man walking, I think. And something crumples inside me. I don't cry. But I'm not sure why.
The door is open. Cracked slightly. As if on the way out, I didn't pull it hard enough shut. Letting out all the heat, my father would say, which causes me a fresh pang of pain.
I push through the interior door, close it firmly behind me. That's it. I'm home. Standing in the mudroom. Another day done. Another night to begin.
Hang up the purse. Shrug out of the coat. Ease off the boots. Jacket on the coatrack. Shoes on the mat. I fish my cell phone out of my bag and set it up on the side table to charge. Then, I take a final moment.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Listening for him.
The kitchen? He could be sitting at the table. Waiting in front of a cold dinner. Or pointedly taking the last bite. Or maybe he's moved into the family room, ensconced in his recliner, feet up, beer in hand, eyes glued to ESPN. Sunday is football. Go Patriots. I've lived in Boston long enough to know that much. But Tuesday night? I never got into sports. He'd watch; I'd read. Back in the days when we spent so much time glued together, it seemed natural to also have some time apart.
I don't hear the clinking of silverware from the kitchen. Nor the low rumble of TV from the family room.
Door open, I remember. And my left hand flattens on the relatively small, but noticeable, curve of my belly.
The hall leads me to the kitchen. A spindly table sits in front of the back window. No sign of dinner. But then I notice a rinsed plate lying neatly in the sink.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
I should have a story, I think. An excuse. A lie. Something. But in the growing silence, my thoughts churn more, my brain spinning wildly.
Dead man walking. Dead woman walking?
I'm going to vomit. I can blame it on the baby. You can blame anything on pregnancy. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm stupid, I lost track of time. Baby brain, pregnancy hormones. For nine whole months, nothing has to be my fault. And yet . . .
Why did I come home tonight? Except, of course, where else do I have to go? Ever since I first met Conrad ten years ago . . . He noticed me. He saw me. He forgave me.
And I loved him.
Ten whole years, I have loved him.
I leave the kitchen. It's small and, like the rest of the 1950s house, still in desperate need of updating. We purchased the place with hope and aspiration. Sure it sat on a postage stamp yard, and each room was tinier than the last, but it was ours. And being young and handy, we'd fix it up, open it up, then sell it for oodles of money.
Now I walk down a narrow hallway where half the wallpaper hangs down in pieces and do my best not to notice.
Family room. Den, really. With Conrad's beloved La-Z-Boy, a modest sofa, and of course, an enormous flat-screen TV. The recliner is empty. The TV is off. The room is empty.
Door open, I remember again.
Our garage fits only a single vehicle, and even that is a perk in a Boston neighborhood. Conrad parks his Jeep on the street. Which I check now. Because I'd spotted it pulling into the driveway and, yes, there it is. Black Jeep. Situated at the curb straight outside. A prime spot I can already imagine he was thrilled to get, as even with parking permits, there's more demand than supply. Hence his kindness in giving me the garage.
It's okay, honey. I don't want you walking down the street alone at night. I like knowing that you're safe.
Dead woman walking. Dead woman walking.
Don't vomit now.
And then . . .
Then . . .
"Door open," I whisper. And I finally notice what I should've noticed from the very beginning.
Smell. I'd been listening for the sound of my husband. The clatter of silverware in the kitchen. The thump of his recliner banging back in the family room. But there aren't any sounds. No sounds at all.
The house is hushed. Quiet. Still.
As if it were empty.
The stairs leading to the second floor are like the rest of the house, narrow, confining, creaky. Conrad tightened the bannister three months ago. When I broke the news. When we both stood in our bedroom and stared at the little stick. My hands had been shaking so hard he'd had to take it from me.
I remember feeling ill then, too. Willing myself not to vomit, though it had been the near-constant queasiness that had led me to take the pregnancy test. A marriage is a mosaic of a thousand moments, a hundred precious memories. That day, watching his hands close around mine. Strong fingers, seamed with calluses. Steady, as they took the pregnancy stick away from me, held it closer to him.
I had that surreal feeling I sometimes get. Where I'm not present in my own life, but even all these years later, standing in my parents' kitchen again. Holding the shotgun. Smelling all that blood.
And Conrad, being Conrad, looked right at me. Looked right into me.
"Evie," he said. "You deserve this. We deserve this."
I loved him again. Just like that. In that moment, I adored him. We held hands. He cried. Then I had to pull away to vomit for real, but that made us both laugh, and afterward he'd wiped my face with a washcloth and I'd let him.
A thousand moments. A hundred memories.
That pain again, deep inside me, as I lean heavily against the wall, away from the bannister I no longer trust, and work my way up the narrow staircase.
The odor hits me hard now. Nothing faint, teasing, ambiguous. This is it. Had I known all along? Turning into the drive? Pulling into the garage? The interior door open, open, open.
What had my subconscious suspected, long before the rest of me had paid attention?
Upstairs, not the bedroom, but the second tiny room, Conrad's office, looms to the left. That door is open, too.
Sounds to go with the smell. Sirens. Down the street. Growing louder. Coming closer. But of course.
My parents' kitchen.
My husband's office.
Dark, viscous. A spray. A pool.
I can't help myself. I'm sixteen. I'm thirty-two. I reach out. I touch the spot closest to me. I smear the red across my fingertip. I watch the way it fills in the whorls of my fingerprints.
My father. My husband.
More noise. Banging. So far away. Shouts and demands and orders.
But up here, none of it matters. There is just me and this final moment with Conrad. His body fallen back into the desk chair, the back of his head sprayed on the wall behind him.
I fear what I will see on the computer screen before I even look. But I force myself to do it. Take it in. Register the images. This is my husband's computer. This is what my husband was looking at before he died.
Harder banging now. The police. Responding to reports of shots fired. They will not be denied.
"It was an accident," my mother whispers urgently in my ear. "Nothing but an unfortunate accident."
I reach over to the computer. I close out the images. Then, because I have enough experience to know it won't be enough, I pick up the gun from my husband's lifeless hand. I curl my palm around the checkered grip. I slip my finger into the cold trigger guard.
And I start shooting.
When the police finally burst through the door, I stand at the top of the stairs, both hands up, gun in plain view, while turning slightly so that the curve of my stomach can't be denied.
"Drop the weapon, drop the weapon, drop the weapon!" the first officer shouts from the base of the stairs.
He scrambles up the stairs, cuffs in hands. I hope for his own sake that he doesn't stumble against the bannister.
A marriage is a mosaic. A thousand moments. A hundred memories.
The officer twists my arms behind my back. He cuffs my wrists tight, pats me down as if expecting even more weapons, as more uniforms pour through the door.
"My husband," I hear myself say. "He's been shot. He's dead."
"Ma'am, is there anyone else present?"
A thousand moments. A hundred memories.
"Ma'am, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning."
The officer escorts me down the stairs, out of the house, away from my husband's body.
"Do you think I'll be allowed to plan the funeral?" I ask him.
He looks at me funny, then deposits me in the back of the patrol car on a hard plastic bench seat.
More cops. More sirens. The neighbors appearing to watch the show. I know what will come next. The trip to the police station. Where my hands will be swabbed for blood, tested for GSR. Fingerprinting. Processing.
Then, when my past appears on the computer screen . . .
"An accident," my mother whispers again in the back of my mind. "Nothing but an unfortunate accident."
I can't help myself; I shudder.
She will come for me now, I think. And because of that, as much as anything else, I curl my hands around my belly and tell my baby, this fragile, fluttery life that hasn't even had a chance yet, how sorry I truly am.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Yes! Another cracking tale from this Queen of Suspense. I've been a longtime fan of Lisa Gardner and love her DD Warren stories and these new characters are just amazing. But, don't worry, if this is your first book, you'll love it, you'll just want to read the earlier books to really get to know the 'team'. Three strong female characters tell their stories throughout and they are excellent stories that become entwined. Firstly, there is Detective DD Warren, a women who is no longer on the front line at work and misses it and who is juggling a challenging job she loves, with a husband, 5 year old son and a dog. Then there is Flora, a new addition and a complex character who continues to recover from being abducted and held for over a year and then, lastly, there is Evie, a wife who arrives home to find her husband shot dead and who then, fires rounds into his computer. Lisa Gardner is a pro at ensuring all of these characters are fleshed out sufficiently for us to care, whilst ensuring that the thread of the story is never lost. It's not perfect and there were elements I felt obvious, but, overall I've got to give full 5* as it absolutely kept me hooked. I devoured it and can't wait for the next adventure. Brilliant! Thanks so much to NetGalley, Cornerstone Penguin Random House UK and Lisa Gardner for the opportunity to preview this book in exchange for my honest review.
Lisa Gardner books always grab me from the first paragraph and keep me reading late into the night. Her latest is no exception. Involving characters from her two mosts popular series, Detective D.D. Warren and FBI agent Kimberly Quincy was brilliant and made this a special treat. The characters are fully developed and the plot moves along at a breakneck pace. Highly Recommended
Never Tell by Lisa Gardner is a very highly recommended procedural and suspenseful thriller featuring Boston's Detective D.D. Warren and victim's advocate/vigilante Flora Dane. This is an excellent novel and a superb addition to the D.D. Warren series. Evie Carter returns home to find her husband, Conrad, dead in his home office. He has been shot three times, but Evie takes his gun and shoots his computer twelve times. The police arrive and see Evie, who is obviously pregnant and still holding the gun. D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes Evie from a case sixteen years ago, when Evie was 16 and accidentally shot her father, a Harvard professor. Two shootings can't be coincidental, as far as Warren is concerned. When Flora Dane sees Conrad Carter's face on the news, she immediately recognizes him from when she was still a captive of kidnapper, Jacob Ness. Ness took her to a bar where they met Conrad. Now Flora must revisit her past to try and remember what she knows about Conrad. She is also determined to discover the truth behinds Conrad's murder and how it may be tied into crimes by Ness. Never Tell is an outstanding, fast-paced, intricate procedural that delves into dark secrets and has questions and complications multiplying with every chapter. This is an un-put-down-able novel that had me glued to every page, breathless with anxiety and anticipation wondering what could possibly happen next and what new information would be uncovered. The writing and pacing is superb. The plot is complex, intelligent, and astute. The final climax is disturbing, clever, heart-stopping, and brilliant. Truly, Never Tell is a stay-up-way-too-late-to-read-just-one-more-chapter novel. The characters are all well-developed and well-established at this point. For those who are new to the series, you can enjoy this as a stand-alone novel, but fans of the series will appreciate it even more as they will have a greater insight into the characters. There simply has to be another addition to the series as soon as possible as there are several questions that need answers, and some developments that require further exploration, and other questions that need to attain a degree of closure. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.
Another winner from Lisa Gardner. I totally enjoyed this book, it kept me on my toes, and constantly wondering who committed both murders. Was it the same person, was it two different people? I loved when I read that Flora was part of this story, she has so much depth and such a dark side. She could very well be the star of the show, finding criminals using the underworld skills acquired from her kidnapping and hundreds of days spent with a serial rapist. She’s a woman on the edge and D.D. keeps her on the right side of the law. The 3 women, Flora, Evie and D.D. are quite different and make interesting partners. I would love to read more books including Flora and also Evie.
This is my first five star read of 2019!!! I am so completely hooked on this series at this point and I'm only three books in. It's funny because I'm totally not reading them in order - and I've started compulsively buying them whenever I find copies of the earlier books because I definitely want to read the entire series at this point. But back to this book which again features Flora Dane whom I have just grown to love. In Never Tell, the book is told from three different viewpoints all focusing on the recent shooting and murder of Evie Carter's husband. One viewpoint is D.D.'s as she is investigating this murder, one from Evie's viewpoint as she deals with the aftermath of her husband's death, and finally from Flora's point of view as she recognized Evie's husband as being an acquaintance of her former captor Jacob Ness. All of these three storylines are so compelling and made this book one that I couldn't set down. Gardner does such a beautiful job of creating tense and suspenseful atmospheres in each of her books. This book kept me guessing and turning the pages the entire time! There is so much going on that you would think that it is almost too much - I didn't even mention yet that Evie "accidentally" killed her father when she was younger. Instead all of these different things just tie together beautifully to ratchet up the suspense even more! I feel like I'm just rambling here at this point so here is what you need to know: this book is JUST as amazing as every book that I've read in this series so far. If you haven't read this series yet, you can certainly start here or you could do like I did and begin with Find Her (or maybe start at the very beginning of the series like most people do). I loved this book so much and one of the reasons is because of Flora's character. I'm loving the chance to see her continue to work on living her life after everything that she has been through. There is just so much going on in this book that I absolutely loved. I loved that I was kept guessing the entire time on what actually happened. I won't say more than that but I just cannot recommend this series enough at this point!! Overall this was easily a five star read for me and my first one of the new year! I feel like all I'm doing is gushing at this point but really it was that good! This book was just as compelling and thrilling as the other two books that I've read in this series. The mysteries are always suspenseful but it is the characters that keep me coming back for more. I really am looking forward to finally starting back with the first book in this series sometime in the near future! If you enjoy tense, edge of your seat - will not - cannot - stop reading books then this series is for you! I can highly recommend this one to thriller and mystery lovers alike! Lisa Gardner has sky rocketed on to my favorite authors list! I will eagerly be anticipating the next book in this series and reading everything that she writes! Highly recommended! Bottom Line: As tense and thrilling as I had hoped it would be - an easy five star read! Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book thanks to the publisher - thoughts on this book and series are my own!
This story again features D.D. Warren and Flora Dane – a character that I adore and have followed through three stories. In addition to D.D. and Flora, there’s a new character added, Evie. I’m wondering if she might become a repeat character as well. There’s a lot left to explore with her! This book is a heart-pounding mix of shootings, dark internet, arson, and good old detective work. There are connections back to Flora’s time as a hostage and we begin to unravel more of that time through new crimes and a murder. There’s someone new that Flora interacts with and I have my fingers crossed that there might be a relationship in her future. This girl needs some happiness! If you are a fan of Lisa Gardner, put this on your list, you won't be disappointed! If you’ve never read Lisa Gardner and are intrigued by reading about Flora, start with “Find Her” to fully enjoy the story arc.
Two Murders Linked by a Horrific Crime Evie Carter arrives home to find her husband, Conrad, in his office with three bullets in him. He’s been working at his computer. Evie takes one look, grabs the gun and unloads it into the computer. When the police enter the house, she’s the perfect suspect. Detective D.D. Warren arrives at the murder scene and recognizes Evie. Sixteen years ago she accidentally shot and killed her father with a shotgun. Two murders are too much for D.D. She decides Evie is probably guilty. Flora Dane, the survivor of a horrific crime, and D.D.’s CI, confidential informant, arrives at the scene near hysteria. She recognizes Conrad from her time with her abductor. This adds a layer of complication to the case that D.D. is not sure what to do with. This is my favorite D.D. Warren mystery to date. The plot is filled with twists, but the information comes naturally as though it was being discovered in a real investigation. The story is told from three view points, D.D., Evie, and Flora. The author has made the characters so distinct it’s easy to follow the story even though moving between different persons. All three women are tough and smart. I particularly liked Flora’s development in the book. She loses some of her standoff toughness and becomes much more of a real person. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy thrillers. It’s hard to put down. I received this book from Dutton for this review.
It starts with a man found shot to death in his home. When the cops arrive, they find his wife holding the gun that killed him. In a bizarre twist of fate, Warren knows the wife. She accidentally killed her father 16 years earlier ... shooting him with his rifle. Flora Dane sees the murder reported on the news and immediately knows who he is ..or was. She remembers the night she met him ... she was still a hostage taken by a human monster and held for over a year. Her captor knew this man. And now Flora wants to learn more.... BOOK BLURB: But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have? For fans of this author, you are in for a treat with NEVER TELL. This brings together three of her best loved characters ... D. D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy. As always expected from this author, this is a well-written complex crime thriller with twists and turns that keep the reader riveted to each and every page. It's action-packed with an explosive ending. Each of this author's books just gets better than the last. I always salivate when I see she has a new book out. Many thanks to the author / PENGUIN GROUP Dutton / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.