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Bad woo-woo on the interplanes

  • May 30, 2010
LIVE TO TELL is the fourth book in best-selling author Lisa Gardner's Detective D.D. Warren series; for all the horror of its subject matter, readers will find it impossible to put down. D.D. Warren is a thirty-eight year old blonde, head of a three-person homicide unit in the Boston Police Department. Her work gives her little time for a personal life.

The call that interrupts D.D.'s latest blind date is horrific: a "family annihilation," the murder-suicide of a family of five. It appears that the father succumbed to the pressure of financial problems and perpetrated this terrible deed. But when another family suffers the same fate the very next night, D.D.'s cop instinct tells her to look for connections--and the connections lead to a locked-down children's acute psych unit where the most troubled of children are brought for care.

One of the caregivers at the psych unit, Danielle, has her own crushing past. She was the sole survivor of the near-annihilation of her own family and, unable to leave the past behind, she is burying herself in her work as the twenty-fifth anniversary of that event draws near. It's clear that Danielle is in some sense a link between the past and the present, but what is the nature of that link?

The medical system offers all too little for these explosive children and their families. Some are the victims of abuse or gross neglect but others have caring families and are victims of their own chemistry. The pharmaceuticals that usually work on adults with crippling mood disorders are far less effective in children. The kind of collaborative therapies that have some success in a locked therapeutic environment are extremely hard to maintain in a family home. Is it any wonder that families sometimes seek healing from a different plane--the spiritual plane? Several of the families in D.D.'s case have worked with a spiritual healer who teaches the children techniques for fighting off the darkness threatening to overwhelm their spirits. We may not warm to the character of the healer, Andrew, and D.D. is intensely skeptical of his work with (as he describes it) "souls in the interplanes," locked in the void between the planes of existence, struggling to complete their missions and move on. Even Andrew himself refers to his work as "woo-woo" but claims it's as valid as a good cop's intuition.

Dark though the story is, the writing is so effective that you are in a sense left to draw your own conclusions in the end. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, and that's all we really need to know. Or ... is it?

Linda Bulger, 2010

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More Live to Tell: A Detective D. D... reviews
review by . May 13, 2011
On a warm summer night an entire family in Boston are killed. It looks like a murder-suicide and the father clings to live at an ICU.      The following day, in another part of town, a new family is killed. There doesn't seem to be anything to connect the crimes.      D.D. Warren of the Boston homicide unit is called in and after viewing the crime scenes feels as if there's just too much here to be coincidental.      We learn of …
review by . September 19, 2010
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.    Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner is a taut page turner. Detective D.D. Warren is called out to the scene of an apparent family tragedy wherein a father killed his family and then turned the gun on himself. However, before Warren can resolve the crime to her satisfaction, she is called to another, similar scene and she realizes that what she had thought was family tragedy is actually …
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Linda Bulger ()
Ranked #148
When I love a book, I want to wave it in somebody's face and say "Look! Read this!" The internet was made for people like me, don't you think? The lunch.com crowd seems friendly enough...   … more
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Starred Review. At the heart of Gardner's outstanding fourth novel featuring Boston PD detective Warren (after The Neighbor) are some very sick kids, notably Lucy, a nine-year-old feral girl who self-mutilates when any attention is given to her, and Evan, an eight-year-old boy who during fits threatens to kill his mother. D.D gets involved after two grisly family annihilations lead to the locked-down pediatric psych ward in Cambridge that specializes in Lucy's and Evan's types of hard case. When a child is too sick and the parent can no longer handle care, the child ends up in the acute care facility under the tutelage of pediatric psych nurse Danielle, the lone survivor of her own family bloodbath. Coincidence? That's for D.D. to figure out--in the midst of a budding romance with police academy professor Alex Wilson and infuriating encounters with Andrew Lightfoot, resident "woo-woo expert" (that's cop talk for psychic), who works in tandem with the hospital. Plenty of red herrings keep readers guessing, but Gardner always plays fair in this tight and consistently engaging page-turner.
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ISBN-10: 0553807242
ISBN-13: 978-0553807240
Author: Lisa Gardner
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Bantam
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