One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner
A Frankie Elkin novel, book 2
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Timothy O’Day knew the woods. Yet when he disappeared on the first night of a bachelor party camping trip with his best friends in the world, he didn’t leave a trace. What he did leave behind were two heartbroken parents, a crew of guilt-ridden groomsmen, and a pile of clues that don’t add up.

Frankie Elkin doesn’t know the woods, but she knows how to find people. So when she reads that Timothy’s father is organizing one last search, she heads to Wyoming. Despite the rescue team’s reluctance, she joins them. But as they hike into the mountains, it becomes clear that there’s something dangerous at work in the woods…or someone who is willing to do anything to stop them from going any further.

Running out of time and up against the worst man and nature have to offer, Frankie and the search party will discover what evil awaits those who go one step too far…

“Why do I do what I do? Because at the end of the day, the people left behind matter as much as the ones who are missing. We mourn the ones we’ve lost, but we agonize over the pieces of ourselves they took with them.”

Though the book is a bit long at 395 pages, and slow to get to the heart of the story, it still is a memorable read. At first, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into because the book seemed to be just words spoken from Frankie’s point of view about hiking to find a missing man in the Ramsey, Wyoming mountains. However, author Lisa Gardner’s fantastic writing style and her main character drew me in.

Yes this is a book about a guy going missing in the mountains, but as I read more and more the story of Timothy missing in the Wyoming woods became the back story. Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic, a drifter that has a knack for finding missing people. Frankie’s character is so developed I feel like I knew her, and I felt as if I was losing touch with a friend once the book ended.

The author’s talent for creating character development really shows in this second book of the Frankie Elkin’s series. The deep conversations Frankie had with each of Timothy’s friends revealed a lot. The first hundred or so pages some readers may find slow, drawn out or even boring but I was in awe reading the details and conversations between Frankie and the other hikers. The conversations weren’t boring but informative. It gave me the feel that Frankie was getting to know them but also investigating to get more details not only about what happened to Timothy, but she also got to know Timothy though the words of those who loved him.

Frankie is a lady with her own demons. She lives for what she does. It makes it very admirable because other people would do it for the recognition, but to Frankie every single person matters and it’s not about the recognition or monetary gain, or lack thereof. Readers will get to know her struggles, and see that she is outside of her comfort zone, but she perseveres and doesn’t give in.

As the story progressed, I was still at a loss as to what happened to Timothy. The search wasn’t going as planned. Someone didn’t want the crew searching and they made it very clear. The action picks up midway through the book when the searchers become the hunted. The question changes from will they find Timothy to will they survive? The mystery of what happened to Timothy is revealed. The denouement is a short reveal and I’m not sure if the motive behind it all really made sense. The author didn’t give much or elaborate.

The book is well written with great characters, suspenseful and a good feel to it. Everything isn’t perfect, nor does it end perfectly, but to know there is someone who is touching lives, willing to help people with no ulterior motive and is making a difference as she passes through makes this a book worth reading.

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