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Live to Tell cover art

Live to Tell

Written by: Lisa Gardner
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter,Rebecca Lowman,Ann Marie Lee
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Publisher's Summary

“A suspenseful roller-coaster ride.” (Karin Slaughter)

“Lisa Gardner always delivers heart-stopping suspense.” (Harlan Coben)

He knows everything about you - including the first place you’ll hide.

On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father - and possible suspect - now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye.

Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is to help children at a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by a family tragedy that shattered her life nearly 25 years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: It has started again.

A devoted mother, Victoria Oliver has a hard time remembering what normalcy is like. But she will do anything to ensure that her troubled son has some semblance of a childhood. She will love him no matter what. Nurture him. Keep him safe. Protect him. Even when the threat comes from within her own house. 

The lives of these three women unfold and connect in unexpected ways, as sins from the past emerge - and stunning secrets reveal just how tightly blood ties can bind. 

Sometimes the most devastating crimes are the ones closest to home. 

©2010 Lisa Gardner (P)2010 Random House

What the critics say

"Gardner never sensationalizes her story, and the book ends with a resolution that is creatively and emotionally appropriate. An excellent novel." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about Live to Tell

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not my favourite Lisa tale...

I’ve read and enjoyed the FBI profiler series. Really enjoyed the characters.

But. This D.D. Warren detective person? She is quite possibly the most rude and abrasive female protagonists I’ve ever run across. I just could not like her, which made settling into the plot difficult.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Touch Too Disturbing

This fourth installment in the 'D.D.Warren/Flora Danes' Mystery-Thriller series heralds a couple of changes for Lisa Gardner:
1. More character development for her protagonist than in earlier episodes (going deeper into the Detective's romantic proclivities, for example).
2. Leaving no holds barred in violent/graphic/unsettling description.

The result is variable.

I appreciate learning more about Sergeant Warren - but she's portrayed as gluttonous, slutty, and often straight-up unlikeable.
I also appreciate reading the uncomfortably horrific aspects of the darker side of humanity (from which other authors shy away) - but the focus in this story on jawdroppingly psychotic children feels far too heavyhanded at times.

Gardner overdoes it with the gritty in 'Live To Tell'.

On the good side, Random House Audio enlists a cast of outstanding performers (Kirsten Potter leading the way, and Rebecca Lowman & Ann Marie Lee reading from the POV of two of the central characters). Diction/enunciation, pacing, timbre, and cadence are spot-on from all three readers.. but their collective understanding of Gardner's intended dark tone is particularly impressive.
Don't get me wrong - the narration is by no means flawless (engineers struggle with sibilance & volume control, for example) - but the listening product is solidly above-average.

Altogether, I give this audiobook a respectable 6.5/10-stars. It doesn't measure up to Gardner's highest standards.. but, unless you're at risk of being triggered, it's worth your time.

[Incidentally: I suspect this author gets away with a lot based on being female. Her portrayal of women as perpetually hostile/catty creatures who just need to get laid would never fly if the name on the cover was 'Tim' Gardner]

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

little heavy but manageable content

I always end up caring for the characters in Gardner's books. I always root for them.

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