Monday, October 14, 2013

Alone, Lisa Gardner

So, this is actually a book I gave my mom as a gift a while back. I had found it on a list of for "the best" mystery and crime books. I was trying to find some new authors. *shrug*

When I asked my mom, she said it had been good, but frankly, I really didn't like this book.

It was wired.

First, this is the first book of the DD Warren series...except that DD is barely in it. It's all about this guy, Bobby.

Who does that?

Second, the other main character is Catherine, and I do not like her. I don't think we're supposed to, but still...

Third, I don't really like DD!! How can I not like the title character?


OK, lets get into this...

So, we start out with a hostage situation. Bobby is a state trooper on the tactical team called in to act as sniper. He arrives at a home where the suspect, thought to be the husband, is holding a woman and child hostage, thought to be the wife (Catherine) and son. Gun hots have already been reported.

I set it out like this because it matters. See, after Bobby is forced to take the shot - and he really doesn't have any other choice - questions start to arise about the situation. The husbands parents claim that the wife engineered the situation, with Bobby's help, to have her husband killed.

Now, of course, Bobby has nothing to do with it. He saw a man getting ready to shoot a woman in the head and acted accordingly. Unfortunately, as the story progresses, the more it looks like the wife did indeed force the issue. I'll come back to that.

That's not all going down, of course. After the shooting, murders start happening. People close to or supportive of Catherine start dying.

Turns out Catherine was abducted as a child and held captive by a sadistic child molester. He's now out of prison and out to get her. He's starting by taking out the people in her life.

Oh, but it gets better (or worse, depending how you feel about it). Turns out her in-laws are brother and sister. 1/2 brother and sister. So, ew. Her son is super ill because of a genetic disorder that is found in relation to....incest! So, grandpa decides it's time to get rid of the kid to protect that nasty little secret. So, he gets Catherine's abductor out of jail (he's a judge) on parole so he can take care of it all.

Of course, it doesn't work out. The kid is finally diagnosed and gets treatment. Grandpa is out of the picture. Abusive husband is dead. Child predator is dead. Bobby is cleared of all charges.

So, have you noticed I didn't mention DD at all? Weird, am I right?! DD is a detective with the Boston PD. She's investigating the murders of Catherine's associates, so she's involved, but only marginally. I say associates because she doesn't really have friends. She's kinda a bitch.

But back to DD.

So, why is this a DD Warren? No idea. She and Bobby can't become partners because he's a Statie and she's with BPD. Maybe Gardner is setting up a romance?

Which brings me to relationships...

So let me back up a bit and look at them. So, DD and Bobby used to be lovers. It seems DD is too focused on career to have much of a lasting relationship with anyone, but we don't really see enough of her to really know that for sure. Bobby seems to have a thing Catherine. And this is where I start to dislike Bobby a bit.

One, he's a freakin' idiot. She's playing him, he knows she is, yet he keeps doing what she wants. He talks to the people who want to put him in jail (the prosecutor, the grandpa/judge) - without his lawyer!! He's a damn cop for chrissake!

Two, he's doing nothing to help himself. See my examples for #1. It also takes forever to even get a lawyer.

As for DD...she's kinda the same. She gets something in her head and no matter what contradictory evidence is presented, she will not let it go. Not until the truth is shoved in her face. It seems even if the way she makes the information fit her decided ending is completely convoluted and out of the world. I get the idea of cops thinking the worst of everyone, but....

I guess my irritation is due to what feels like an assumption that victims are perpetrators. That you can't have something so horrible happen to you, like being abducted and held prisoner by a sadistic child molester, and not be so fucked up you'd hurt other people. Like your child. Or your lover/child's doctor.

Basically, DD's assumption is: you must be a bad guy if you survived something so horrific.

Which makes no sense! Look at Elizabeth Smart. Or Jaycee Dugard. Or those three women who were kept locked up in Ohio.

Do some people react to trauma with violence? Sure. Everyone is different - an individual. But I'd say violence is the exception not the rule. Far more survivors hate the idea of hurting someone - especially like they've been hurt.

My point is the assumption is flawed, and therefore, the theory that Catherine is hurting her son and going after all the people in her life because she was kidnapped and abused is just not likely. Not impossible, no, but not likely either.

So, luckily, in the end, Bobby does NOT end up with Catherine.

Unfortunately, Catherine isn't held responsible for her husbands death either. It's not...confirmed really, but highly implied that she did indeed set it up.

HOWEVER, this was another issue I had with the story. Maybe my main issue. So, Catherine is abused by her husband. There's some question about the truth of that in the beginning, but we find out it is, in fact, true. Now, yes, the idea that she engineered the situation so that it would result in her husband's death is murder. At the same time, she didn't force him to get the gun, to point it at her, to have the intention to kill her. That was his choice. His alone. It was his choice to beat and rape his wife. His to refuse to believe his son was sick. She may have engineered the situation, but the only way she could do that is because of his choices. His intentions

She's still wrong, don't misunderstand me, but the way it's talked about it the book just smacks of "she asked for it," of blaming the victim.

I guess that's my real issue with the whole thing.

So, now my issue is do I keep on with the series...

I don't know. I think I'll try #2. See what happens. I mean, I should at least wait for DD to come into her role as title character. Right?

Alone, Lisa Gardner

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