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Live To Tell: Book review

Reviewed by's Katie Pearson

It's been a long time since I read a good thriller and, after reading Live To Tell, I will be seeking out author Lisa Gardner's other novels at lightning speed. Excuse my colloquial and somewhat blasphemic language, but I finished this book and actually said to my husband, "Holy crap, that was awesome".

The central plot of Live To Tell revolves around the brutal murder of a family in one of Boston's working-class neighbourhoods. A mother, daughter and son lie dead in the house, with the father clinging to life after an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. It immediately appears to be the scene of a murder-suicide, but as events unravel and a second family is slaughtered in an almost identical way, it becomes evident that there is a lot more to this crime than first thought.

The novel is from three points of view: Danielle Burton, a dedicated paediatric psychiatric nurse who remains haunted by her family's death at the hands of her father nearly 25 years ago; Victoria Oliver, the determined yet emotionally fragile mother of an eight-year-old boy with severe psychological problems (the introduction to Victoria's story is one of the most surprising and gut-wrenching pieces of writing I've ever read); and D.D. Warren, a veteran police detective who will go to any lengths to solve a crime. 

Gardner ties the three women's stories together in a very skilful fashion, and each chapter leaves you more gripped than the last. I had to do my utmost to stop my eyes from racing ahead to the bottom of each page to see what was going to happen.

It truly is one of the most gripping novels I've ever read, and the suspense climbs to almost unbearable levels.

It is also evident that Gardner must have done a lot of research into the mechanics and emotions of a children's psychiatric ward, as I could picture it perfectly.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 9/10

Live To Tell, by Lisa Gardner 
Publisher: Orion (Hachette)
RRP: $38.99
Available: Now