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Crash and Burn by Lisa Gardner

January 27, 2015

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist.

Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says.

My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t.

Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead.

This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

Nicky Frank is found one night after escaping from a bad car wreck in which she seems to have been the only passenger. When the police reach her, Nicky is clearly seriously confused and is desparately looking for ‘Vero’.

Reeking of scotch and with memory loss and bad headaches, Nicky is clearly distraught and confused. Sergeant Wyatt Foster of the New Hampshire Police thinks that at worst they are dealing with a suicide attempt, at best a drink driving mishap.

A search finds no trace of Vero. Is she a figment of Nicky’s imagination, or a sympton of previous head traumas that she has suffered?

As Wyatt looks into Nicky’s life and that of her husband, Thomas Frank, he finds blank walls put up in all directions. Is Nicky an abused wife and is Vero her child? The questions come thick and fast in this stand alone thriller that also brings in P.I. Tessa Leoni and D.D. Warren, characters from Gardners previous crime novels.

As Nicky starts to piece together fragments of her past, the story that is revealed is full of teasers, twists and unexpected turns. Nicky’s story is a deeply traumatic one; terrifying, haunting, sickening.

Why does she think November is such a sad month? Something happened, but does Nicky have the nerve to piece together the fragments of her shattered memories?

Wyatt Foster means to find out and when he discovers that his girlfriend, Tessa Leoni, has links to the case, he puts the two women together to see what he can learn.

I read this book pretty much in two sittings and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to know Nicky’s story and couldn’t put it down until It reached its life affirming conclusion. The pace is fast and the tension builds excellently. There are false clues and many devious turns on the way to the conclusion of this excellent thriller in which nothing is quite as straightforward as it seems. Highly recommended.

Crash and Burn is published by Headline on 3rd February 2015

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