Review: Alone by Lisa Gardner

Title: Alone

alone

Author: Lisa Gardner

Publisher: ISIS Audio Books [2005]

ISBN: 978-0-7531-2446-8

Length: 10.6 hours (9CDs)

The book opens with Massachusetts State Police Sniper Bobby Dodge responding to a call out at a domestic disturbance where shots have been fired. When he observes a man pointing a gun at a woman with a small child in her arms he shoots to kill. Although at first Bobby is considered a hero for saving Catherine Gagnon and her son Nathan things soon turn sour. Police soon start to suspect that Catherine engineered her husband’s murder-by-cop and that Bobby may have been involved long before the night of the shooting. At the same time Catherine’s father-in-law tries every trick in the book to gain custody of Nathan, including accusing Catherine of abuse, and the people Catherine is close to start dying gruesome deaths.

Honestly a one word review of this one would suffice: meh.

If you want more I’ll say that it was one of those run of the mill crime fiction books that passes the time but is barely memorable. For a start I found the characters quite clichéd. Catherine was the victim of a paedophile as a child and is now an emotionally wounded but stunningly beautiful woman (so stunningly beautiful that even while being shot at and facing almost certain death a man will think first of how great she looks). Of course she is married to an abusive man. And of course all the men she meets fall at her stunningly beautiful feet. She is also the unluckiest human on the planet and because she’s such a two-dimensional character I found the endless trail of tragedy in her life to be ridiculous. Bobby is not much better as the stoic Trooper who can’t seem to make up his mind who to believe. None of the other players left much of an impression, although the villain seemed wholly incredible to me (would someone who had been in prison for 25 years be familiar with the mod cons of 2005?).

The plot, revolving largely on the aforementioned tragedies in Catherine’s life and her ability to manipulate the men in her life, left me fairly cold. I was mildly interested in what tortured mechanism the author would use to tie it all together but I found it so contrived that I didn’t much care about what was happening from moment to moment (although my concern for the puppy did keep me attentive for a while). There were just too many unbelievable elements for me to find the book genuinely suspenseful because I always knew that certain things would turn out a certain way, regardless of how silly or fantastic such an outcome might appear.

If this had been a print book I probably wouldn’t have finished it but I am always short of audio books and it was distraction enough on my morning walk to work this week.

My rating 2/5

Other Stuff

I note from my reading journal that I’ve read one other Lisa Gardner book, The Next Accident. As it was in my pre-blog days I don’t have a full review but I did say that the characters weren’t terribly good or memorable and I rated it a 2.5. Perhaps this author is just not for me

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6 Responses to Review: Alone by Lisa Gardner

  1. Barbara says:

    Meh! What a great tag to use for books like this. I reviewed one of hers and had the same reaction, except actually it was more like “damn, another dent in the wall.” In that case the female lead (who has a tortured background and is being pursued by a crazy serial killer; probably gorgeous, as well) literally goes down into the basement alone so that we can have our denouement. Manipulation was the name of the game, and violence against women was trivialized. I hated the whole thing viscerally.

    But meh would have been a more fitting reaction.

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  2. Maxine says:

    Yes, that’s just the word! Brilliant! I took this book on holiday a couple of years ago and if I hadn’t been in a foreign country (no English-language bookshops that I saw in that little bit of France) I would have chucked it half way through and bought something else. There are quite a few books like this I find – very well marketed but when you read them they just seem so same-y. I read one recently and had a similar reaction so did not review it, it was called Black Out by Lisa Unger. Great reviews, blurb by Coben – but stupid plot and a protag that made me want to strangle her for her inconsistent swinging between romantic fiction trembly heroine and (suspected) murder. And the plot holes….and the build up to nothing…final revelation – flat as pancake.

    I am glad I didn’t read that other book by LG, Barbara!

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  3. The old curmudgeonly side of my character resists modern text-speak changes to my beloved English language but I have to say meh has become one of my absolute favourite words – how did we do without it for so long?

    As for chruned out books with interchangeable, predictable plots and laughable female characters I guess they’re here to stay and I shall just have to be more careful to avoid them in future. Unfortunately there’s not a heck of a lot of Scandinavian crime fiction available on audio in English at my local library (or anywhere else for that matter). In fact the poor quality of content available in audio format is a very vexing problem of the sort I would complain to my local MP about if it weren’t for the fact she is an illiterate moron.

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