BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED BY LISA GARDNER #bookreview #blogtour @LisaGardnerBks @Rachel90Kennedy


International Thriller Writers Award winner
Multiple  New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller  

Published by Century  | Hardback |
26th January 2021 | £12.99


Frankie Elkin has dedicated her life to doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has forgotten.

When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. She has found fourteen victims to date, but none yet alive. Traveling from city to city with more regrets than belongings, Frankie is drawn to a new case in Boston, and to a neighbourhood with a rough reputation.

Angelique Badeau, a local teenager and Haitian immigrant, vanished eleven months ago in the middle of the day from her high school.  No scrap of surveillance footage, no cell phone tracking;
Angelique simply disappeared.

Despite resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family, Frankie starts to unpick the truth of Angelique’s disappearance and starts to discover there are those that don’t want these questions answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to find Angelique and bring her home, even if it means the next person to go missing will be herself……..


What a great book!

The author’s first standalone novel in ten years and she’s written a corker! I couldn’t put it down. I was immediately gripped by this novel. The author’s writing sucked me right in to the point when I could picture myself on the same sidewalk as our main character, seeing the same buildings, right down to smelling the delicious sounding patties and pastries in the local bakeries.

Frankie Elgin, a recovering alcoholic, has spent the last ten years travelling around the country, tracking down missing persons. So far she has a 100% success rate, finding all 14 victims, however, none of them still alive. Searching online for her next destination she finds the case of teenager Angelique ‘Angel’ Badeau, missing for nearly a year now. With only the bag on her back, for Frankie has enough ‘baggage’ already, she heads to Boston, to Mattapan, a neighbourhood that won’t be that pleased to see her, but she’s used to that.

As we follow Frankie on her search for Angel we are taken on a fast paced, thriller of a journey but also one full of compassion, heartbreak and rich, multi-layered characters that jump off the page. All with a story to tell including Frankie, but does she want anyone to know?

I loved the character of Frankie and indeed many more of the others in this story. She treats her unpaid job as if it is some kind of penance or atonement of which she doesn’t appear to be afraid if it even gets her killed, this is much to the annoyance of Detective Lothan.

The story of Angel is a multi-layered one and builds and grows as you read, with new leads, connections, twists and turns that kept me glued to the page. The pace was just right, making a suspenseful mystery, but this novel also allows for it’s characters to shine. Characters like Stoney and Viv who own/work at the bar where Frankie finds a room and work are brilliantly written, and even though they appear less than others their interactions with Frankie give the reader such a great picture of them. Plus of course Piper the cat, a match for Frankie herself.

The book touches on very serious issues that are relevant to the area and the people who live there, adding even more heart to this great plot and story.

If you like thrillers, police procedurals or mystery novels I would highly recommend this book. Hey! If you like an engaging read full of great characters, read this book!



New York Times #1 bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, criminal minds and twisted plots into a streak of bestselling suspense novels. Her 2010 novel, THE NEIGHBOR, won Best Thriller from the International Thriller Writers. Most recently, she was honoured with the Silver Bullet Award for her work with at-risk children and homeless animals. Lisa loves to hike, travel the world, and yes, read, read, read!


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A Quiet Death In Italy



Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder

A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.

But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.

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Set in the slightly lesser known Italian city of Bologna, this detail rich, debut novel, follows an investigation into the death of a political protester.  With the police ‘unwilling’ to investigate and possibly even involved, it’s left to out main character, Englishman and private investigator Daniel Leicester to find out the truth.  And boy does it take him on a winding and involved story of Italian politics, corrupt government, and political protesters.  If you like your crime fiction to really have a sense of time and place this is a book for you.

A slow moving and multi layered novel which does a marvellous job at describing and evoking a city lesser known to the tourists which flood into Italy year after year.  The feel of the city with it’s history and it’s wonderful food and architecture are wonderfully described as well as the complicated and age old political and government situations, which are used to their fullest within the story line and plot.

I found Daniel a wonderful character, and felt I had already meet him before yet this is the first book in a new series.  A recent widower, having lost his Italian wife 3 years previously, he lives with his daughter Rose, father-in-law and two other family members. The adults also work together in the family owed business and this connection adds a lovely touch to the story, giving it a lighter thread to follow and grow.

There are a number of characters within the book whom all add their own authenticity  and backdrop to the story, and make this a well written, enjoyable, believable and evocative read.

Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and to the publishers Constable Books for my digital copy which has a wonderfully interesting glossary at the end of the book, along with the first 2 chapters of the next book in this series, The Hunting Season!

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Author Bio

Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.

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