Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner


Pros: decent story that held my interest

Cons: quite a few flaws

Lisa Gardner’s books are typically a mixed bag for me. Some good, some not-so-good.  Fear Nothing is in the middle.  It has some very good elements to it – some quite unique features.  But it also suffers from a few flaws.

The book features some serial killers.  One from 40 years ago, and one from today, with eerily similar methods.  The killer from 40 years ago has two surviving daughters.  One, considered highly successful by any standard, despite her unique and quite fascinating genetic disorder.  The other daughter is in jail, and has been since she was a young girl – it seems she followed a bit too closely in her Daddy’s footsteps.

So if the original killer’s family are all accounted for, who’s responsible for the current spree?

This is what Detective D.D. Warren is determined to figure out. Despite the fact that she’s on medical leave – suffering from a severe injury incurred on the job.  Her injury is so severe, in fact, that she seeks the advice of a pain specialist.  Who just happens to be that “successful by any standard” daughter of the old serial killer that I mentioned above.  Ridiculous coincidence?  You bet.

And that – the reliance on a coincidence that just wouldn’t happen in real life – is just one of the book’s flaws.  Here are some others: loose threads that are never cleaned up.  E.g., we hear a lot about the elaborate staging of the current crimes, but are never given a reason for it.  We hear a lot about a sound D.D. heard right before her injury, but we’re never given an explanation for it.

Then there are the character flaws: We hear a lot of whining about the pain that she’s in, but for the longest time D.D. refuses to do anything at all to try to help.  I get that some people don’t want to try pain relievers for fear of addiction.  But for the longest time, D.D. wouldn’t even ice her injury.  And when she finally seeks the advice of an expert, her initial reaction is to mock the expert’s theories and shun her advice.  Seems to me, if you’re in so much pain that you have to whine incessantly about it – and it literally keeps you from living your life or being able to pick up your young son – you should do whatever you have to do, to get better.  Not mock.

So – there it is – a fairly decent story that I admit held my interest, but a few flaws that drag the book down.  The mystery, itself, is pretty good.  I definitely had my theories about who’s doing the current murders, but Gardner does a good job of keeping the mystery alive.  Even the few snippets we get from the murderer’s point of view are kept very close to the vest, not even revealing the gender (which involved some awkward sentence structure at times, still I appreciated the effort).

I will warn, however: Fear Nothing contains some very gruesome stuff. The murders from 40 years ago, the current ones, and the horrid memories of the two daughters who were just children at the time – all of it is cringe-worthy.  It’s passages like these that are the reason I read fiction, not true crime.  Thank goodness this is just an author’s imagination, not a re-telling of actual events!

Also by Lisa Gardner:

Catch Me

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