🎧 Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks ‏@hillatious @BrillianceAudio @LoveAudiobooks

Posted February 25, 2021 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 16 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

🎧 Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks ‏@hillatious @BrillianceAudio @LoveAudiobooksBefore She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
Narrator: Hillary Huber
Published by Brilliance Audio on January 19, 2021
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will--searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim's wary family tells Frankie she's on her own--and she soon learns she's asking questions someone doesn't want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

Before She Disappeared is just what I want to read.  There is nothing I didn’t love.   It’s in a favorite genre and has both a private investigator of sorts and police investigations.  The world is well-developed with the grit of ordinary and desperate lives.   The characters also feel so authentic with the nuances of their personalities and relationships drawn for the main characters, the families, the police officers, the neighborhood people, the school personnel and everyone from those at the bar to the coffee place and the transit workers, and the people who attend AA meetings.

Frankie is a recovering alcoholic with no special skills beyond tenacity and the fortitude to uproot and reinvent her life each time she finds a new case to solve.  She tackles the “unimportant” missing, mostly teenagers, who are poor or minorities or both.  It reminds me of the Equalizer except Frankie doesn’t have the weapons, physical training or any kind of technical or financial resources.  However, Frankie has some street smarts and she just doesn’t give up. Oddly, she’s a bit of a luddite with technology.

Frankie is easy to love with her total commitment to the missing, her perseverance in the face of danger, and honesty with the families.  She has her guilt and nightmares from her past, and her time of bingeing alcohol.  But she doesn’t let it take over her life.  She is dedicated to the search above all else.

In this case, the setting is Boston, which is a much larger city than she usually works.  There are both police and community liaison officers, who are never excited about her plans.  She can support herself through bartending but housing is expensive here.  She doesn’t need much, though.

The missing girl is a good teen, a smart girl who planned to be a doctor.  She has high grades and is well liked.  She and her brother came from Haiti after a natural disaster there to live with her aunt.  Their visa will be expiring soon, so she hopes to get a student visa to go to college.  They are a close and caring family.  But now Angelique has been missing 11 months.

Frankie discovers plenty of secrets and stirs things up from the start.  She finds new leads almost every day after months of the police being stuck.  They don’t like it but they respect it.  Everything happens fast with plenty of startling new information and action. I love when someone fights for the underdog, the twisty and layered plot with all its details, the well-developed characters and world.  Frankie takes a wild ride and I’d love to be along for another case.  I hope this character turns into a series.


Hillary Huber is one of my favorite narrators so it was barely a decision to read this on audio.  Her voices were appropriate for the characters, both male and female, and differentiated.   Most of the story is in the point of view from the main character, Frankie, and she brings her to life for me.  I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip:

About Hillary Huber

Hillary has recorded over 500 audiobooks spanning many genres. She is a multiple Audie Award finalist – including Best Female Narrator, multiple Earphone Award winner, Voice Arts Awards winner and one of Audiofile Magazine’s best voices. Hillary has a BA in English Literature and is a voracious reader and listener. Raised in conservative Connecticut and hippy Hawaii, she has unique perspective. She splits her time between Santa Monica and New York. Most of that time is in a 4×4 padded room. Er…booth.

About Lisa Gardner

New York Times bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics and twisted plots into a streak of eleven bestselling suspense novels.

Readers are invited to get in on the fun by entering the annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Mate” Sweepstakes, where they can nominate the person of their choice to die in Lisa’s latest novel. Every year, one lucky stiff is selected for literary immortality. It’s cheaper than therapy, and you get a great book besides. For more details, simply visit Lisa’s website.

Lisa lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family, as well as two highly spoiled dogs and one extremely neurotic three-legged cat. Lisa graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in international relations.

Rating Breakdown
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Posted February 25, 2021 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 16 Comments

16 responses to “🎧 Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

  1. I keep seeing this author – and I am tempted by her books. But this one sounds really amazing! Thank you for a lovely review, Anne:))

  2. Somehow I missed this review! I really enjoyed this one, too! I’ve been a longtime fan of Lisa Gardner and her well-plotted/researched mysteries. I listened to the audio as well. Hillary Huber is fantastic! I wonder if we’ll get more Frankie in the future.