Book Review: Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner

18044917Title: Fear Nothing
Author: Lisa Gardner
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (HC)
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.

The last thing Boston Detective D.D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear… She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.

My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D.D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain, doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.

D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women; he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:

Fear nothing.

I tend to read a lot of thrillers, but almost none of them grab me in the way Fear Nothing did. With a unique protagonist, villains you feel oddly connected to as a reader and and an intelligent plot, this is one of the must-reads on your reading lists for this new year.

Fear Nothing has two protagonists. One of them is the familiar trope – a female detective, struggling to balance the job with life at home. She’s intelligent, clever, and not afraid to think out of the box. But when she investigates a murder scene on her own and gets attacked by the murderer, something inside of her breaks.

She’s sent to a therapist, Adeline Glen, who helps D.D. get over the anger she feels toward her pain now she can’t use her arm anymore. While Adeline helps D.D., she also reveals clues about herself, and gets more and more involved in the investigation. Because Adeline is no ordinary therapist. She hides two dark and terrible secrets.

She can’t feel pain. And her sister is Shana Day, a murderer in her own right. They’re both daughters of Harry Day, a serial killer who’s legacy runs on, even today.

When the investigation leads toward Adeline’s sister, Shana, who’s been locked up in prison for several years, Adeline realizes she has no choice but to confess the truth. Because whoever is murdering these women – skinning them – may be after her too.

D.D., our lead detective, didn’t surprise me all that much. She was an enjoyable character, not all too grumpy, thank God (it seems like the grumpy detective is the new way to go if you read the latest thrillers) but she’s not that original, nor refreshing. Adeline on the other hand…wow. Now that’s a character so complicated it’s dazzling. With a background story that would make any reader jump in their seat, and an ever-changing personality, she’s drawn between the person her adoptive father wanted her to be, and between the person her real family made her become. With a fascination for her own legacy, a deep, dark secret, and her inability to feel pain, her difficult relationship with her sister, she’s one of the most fascinating, intriguing characters I’ve read about in ages. If she were the main character of this book, only her, without D.D., or she’d been forced into the role of the detective, that would’ve been fireworks.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and it’s time to talk about two other intriguing characters. Shana Day, Adeline’s sister, so observative she notices everything that goes on around her before anyone else does. Shana, who portrays no emotions, but would go to any length to protect her sister. Shana, who was forever scarred by what her father did to them. She was a lot darker than Adeline, yet not truly a villain either. I felt for her, wrapped up as she was in her own sadism, and anti-social personality, messed up by those early years of life, the most fragile ones. It was hard to grasp her, to figure out what was going on in her mind, and that made her interesting.

Then the last protagonist – the villain. I won’t say much about it, except that it left me guessing for a long, long time.

As for plot, it’s a complicated story that has enough twists to entertain even the most well-read mystery fans. More even than about catching the killer, the book is about family, about what makes a murderer, and about the traces that leaves, not just to the victims and their families, but to the murderer’s own family.


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