Live To Tell by Lisa Gardner

Live To Tell by Lisa GardnerThese things happen, though. Not all at once. But bit by bit, moment by moment, choice by choice. There are pieces of yourself that once you give away, you can never get back again. – Victoria Oliver

Live To Tell, the fourth novel by Lisa Gardner featuring Boston PD detective D. D. Warren, opens with Warren being called out to the scene of a horrific mass murder; an entire family is dead, the wife and three kids apparently killed by the husband before he shot himself in the head.

Something about the case doesn’t feel quite right to Warren, but before she can identify what it is another family is killed, also in an apparent mass murder-suicide scenario. This time, however, the autopsy is conclusive: the husband was dead before the supposed self-inflicted gunshot was fired. Someone else killed these families.

Warren’s quest to find out who really committed the brutal murders and how – if at all – they were connected leads her to a pediatric psych ward that specializes in mentally unbalanced children who’ve displayed violence toward themselves or others.

Turns out both families had a child who had spent time there. Yet, in both cases the violent child was one of the murder victims, so what other connection could there be?

Perhaps it lies with Danielle Burton, one of the pediatric nurses at the facility, who herself is the lone survivor of a massacre that claimed her entire family… the 25th anniversary of which is only two days away. Or maybe it’s new age healer Andrew Lightfoot, who had been advising at least one of the families on how to ‘treat’ their child’s violent behavioral issues, who holds the key. And how do divorced mother Victoria Oliver and her astonishingly violent eight-year-old son, Evan, fit into the mix?

As Warren figures out exactly how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together, author Gardner takes the reader deep into a subject one does not see addressed with such frankness often in crime fiction: children with serious, violent mental disorders. Not “Damien from the Omen” or Children of The Corn kids, but real young people struggling with mental and chemical imbalances which cause them to act out in horrific ways.

It’s sobering material that, mishandled, could come across as sensational or exploitative. But Gardner has obviously done her homework on the topic, and weaves interesting details about such children and how they are treated into what is an intensely gripping psychological thriller.

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include The Neighbor, Hide, and Alone. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England, where she is at work on her next D. D. Warren novel, Save Me, which Bantam will publish in 2011. To learn more about Lisa, visit her website.


  • Donte Joles

    October 11, 2010 - 11:48 PM

    Great blog!

  • Elizabeth A. White

    August 17, 2010 - 10:48 AM

    Thanks for stopping in, Minnie. Yes, I am quite excited about what you are doing at Mulholland and certainly encourage everyone to check it out… in fact, I may be doing a little blog post about Mulholland in the not too distant future. 😉

  • Mulholland Books (Minnie)

    August 16, 2010 - 4:15 PM

    Elizabeth, this book sounds fascinating and I’m wondering how readers will respond to the sensitive subject matter. Myself, I’ve always been drawn to stories like this, myself. I haven’t read anything by Lisa Gardner but thanks for putting her on my radar.

    Also, quick thanks for posting on the Mulholland Books website. So glad that you are interested in the guest posts we’ve been having. I just saw that you have Don Winslow’s SAVAGES on your reading list. As you know, we had him interviewed by Shane Salerno and had a live-chat with him as well, all available on the website!


  • Lucious Lamour

    August 16, 2010 - 2:01 PM

    Thanks for the heads up on this book. The subject matter is always something that creeps me out, children with serious violent mental disorders. It’s two fold, one, little people shouldn’t act that way, and when they do, it is startling; and two any parent would be terrified to have their own child behave that way.