The town of Niche, Georgia, seemed simply to be a base for hikers wishing to take the Appalachian Trail. It becomes clear that it is far more than that when a pair of hikers stumble off the path and find some human remains. When forensic evidence determines that the body was the victim of murder, the FBI descends on the scene. Because Niche is close to where the infamous (and now dead) serial killer Jacob Ness stalked and murdered his prey.
FBI profiler Kimberley Quincy, Detective D D Warren and Flora Dane, a survivor of Ness, are part of the team at the scene, but as more and more bodies are discovered, it becomes clear that this was far bigger than Jacob Ness. Something terrible has been happening in Niche – and the Bad Man is determined for it to keep happening…
I’ve no real idea why it’s taken me so long to get back to Lisa Gardner’s work. I’ve read the first three of the books featuring both D D Warren and Flora Dane, starting with Find Her, and really enjoyed them all. They were strong thrillers elevated by the strong characters, in particular Flora, a survivor who, against the odds, is trying to rebuild her life and help others like her in the process, especially the unknown victims of Jacob Ness.
This continues in the same vein. It’s worth noting how engrossed I was in the first half of the book where most of the action involves looking around town and getting suspicious – oh, and finding a few more long dead bodies. The author does an excellent job of building up the tension while keeping her cards very close to her chest. This is helped by the addition of an extra narrative voice, that of a victim of the threat that still exists in the town.
The threads pull together well into a satisfying conclusion. It’s not that much of a whodunnit – although there is a good surprise in that aspect – but it is a gripping thriller with strong characters and I’m definitely not leaving it four years next time before reading more from Lisa.