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Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book 26: TOUCH & GO Review


Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
ISBN: 9780525953074 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781101611012 (ebook)
ASIN: B008EKMAH4 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Dutton 
Publication date: February 5, 2013


This is my family:  Vanished without a trace…
Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family. A perfect life.
This is what I know:  Pain has a flavor…
When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes' home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer. The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind. No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive. Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.
This is what I fear: The worst is yet to come…
Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect fa├žades can hide the darkest secrets. Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes' innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices. Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family? And how far would such a person be willing to go?
This is the truth: Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go.

Looks can be deceiving. It looks like Libby and Justin Denbe have the perfect marriage. It looks like they have the perfect daughter. It also looks like the Denbe family's abduction was the perfect abduction. The only problem is that nothing is ever perfect. Tessa Leoni must help uncover clues that reveal just how imperfect this family is and who might be behind their abduction.

Libby Denbe used to be a strong and independent woman. Her father died when she was a child and her mother died when she was only twenty years old. She made out of the tenements or projects, graduated from college and began her own jewelry business. Now she's married to a successful man, lives in a gorgeous home and has a beautiful daughter . . . the perfect life, or so it appears. Libby's husband has cheated on her, she's addicted to pain medication, and her daughter is harboring way too many secrets at age fifteen. Her perfect life is beginning to crack. 

Tessa Leoni is a private investigator, hired by the Denbe Construction company to perform an ancillary investigation into the disappearance of the Denbe family. All anyone knows is that the family disappeared on a Friday night and no ransom demand has been made. The Boston Police is initially on the case and there's a brief appearance by D. D. Warren. Once it is revealed that the abductors have crossed state lines into New Hampshire, the FBI and New Hampshire authorities are brought into the case. Wyatt Foster is a New Hampshire sheriff. Once he’s brought in on the case he quickly launches a plan to eliminate as much state land as possible in the search for the Denbes and the abductors. The investigation quickly reveals that the abductors must have had inside information given the security at the Denbe home and their knowledge of floor layouts and the Denbe's activities. Then the investigators are informed of the embezzling of millions of dollars over more than a dozen years at Denbe Construction. What exactly does the embezzling have to do with the abductions? Will the investigators be able to piece everything together and find the family alive?

Touch & Go is filled with drama, hints of romance, mystery and suspense. Ms. Gardner does a fabulous job of bringing all of the characters to life, as well as creating scenarios that are all too believable. The story has quite a few twists and turns leading the reader from one assumption to another while cleverly revealing tidbits that provide the final clues to the mystery. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but with some in law enforcement, others in the construction business and then the "bad guys," it is quite easy to keep them all straight. Don't know if it was just me but everything seemed to fall into threes. There are three abductors: Mick, Radar and Z; three family members: Libby, Justin and Ashlyn; three main players in the construction company: Anita Bennett, Chris Lopez and Ruth Chan; and, three main investigators: Tessa Leoni, Wyatt Foster and lead FBI agent Nicole Adams (former lover to Wyatt Foster). I doubt if the repetition of three means anything, but I found it interesting. I've enjoyed reading a number of Ms. Gardner's books in the past and Touch & Go was another well-crafted and enjoyable read. The story develops in layers and the mystery is then uncovered  layer-by-layer with little surprises tucked inside of some of the layers. As I previously stated, there's a lot going on in this story, but it all comes together quite nicely in the end with a few surprises. If you enjoy reading mystery-suspense then you want to add Touch & Go to your list of upcoming reads.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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