Lisa Gardner

Gone

When someone you love vanishes without a trace, how far would you go to get them back?

For ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, it’s the beginning of his worst nightmare: a car abandoned on a desolate stretch of Oregon highway, engine running, purse on the driver’s seat. And his estranged wife, Rainie Conner, gone, leaving no clue to her fate.

Did one of the ghosts from her troubled past finally catch up with Rainie? Or could her disappearance be the result of one of the cases they’d been working-a particularly vicious double homicide or the possible abuse of a deeply disturbed child Rainie took too close to heart? Together with his daughter, FBI agent Kimberly Quincy, Pierce is battling the local authorities, racing against time and frantically searching for answers to all the questions he’s been afraid to ask.
One man knows what happened that night. Adopting the moniker from an eighty-year old murder, he has already contacted the press. His terms are clear: he wants money, he wants power, he wants celebrity. And if he doesn’t get what he wants, Rainie will be gone for good.

Sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, it’s still not enough.

As the clock winds down on a terrifying deadline, Pierce plunges headlong into the most desperate hunt of his life, into the shattering search for a killer, a lethal truth, and for the love of his life who may forever be gone.

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Reviews

As of September 2006, GONE had spent 8 weeks on the Library Journal’s list of 15 most requested titles in the U.S. – 9 months after its January 2006 release!

“Fires on all cylinders…” – San Francisco Chronicle

” Good news: There are no damsels in distress here-the wife, their daughter and a female sheriff all kick-butt. It’s a whodunit until the very end.” – Glamour Magazine

” Gardner keeps the suspense cranked high .” – Booklist

“A terrifying woman-in-jeopardy plot propels Gardner’s latest thriller, in which child advocate and PI Lorraine “Rainie” Conner’s fate hangs in the balance. Rainie, a recovering alcoholic with a painful past (who previously appeared in Gardner’s THE THIRD VICTIM, THE NEXT ACCIDENT and THE KILLING HOUR) is kidnapped from her parked car one night in coastal Oregon. The key players converge on the town of Bakersville to solve the mystery of her disappearance: Rainie’s husband, Quincy, a semiretired FBI profiler whose anguish over Rainie undercuts his high-level experience with kidnappers; Quincy’s daughter, Kimberley, a rising star in the FBI who flies in from Atlanta; Oregon State Police Sgt. Det. Carlton Kincaid; local sheriff Shelly Atkins; and abrasive federal agent Candi Rodriguez, who specializes in hostage negotiation. Gardner suspensefully intercuts the complicated maneuvering of this bickering team with graphic scenes of Rainie bravely struggling with her violent, sadistic captor. When the rescuers make a misstep, he raises the stakes by snatching a troubled seven-year-old foster child named Dougie, who’s one of Rainie’s cases. The cat-and-mouse intensifies, as does the mystery of the kidnapper’s identity. Sympathetic characters, a strong sense of place and terrific plotting distinguish Gardner’s new thriller.” – Publishers Weekly

With each new novel Lisa Gardner performs the seemingly impossible task of surpassing her prior efforts. This is an unforgettable tale with a tantalizing mystery and believable characters who are all the more attractive for their flaws. Highly recommended. Read full review. – Bookreporter.com

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Discussion Questions/FAQs

Tell us a little about GONE.
GONE continues the exciting story of two characters deeply loved by my readers, Rainie Conner and Pierce Quincy. Readers have followed Rainie and Quincy as they’ve outwitted serial killers, saved Quincy’s daughter, and most dangerously of all, taken a shot at love. In this latest installment, Rainie has been abducted and Quincy must race against the clock to rescue her. The book counts down the minutes on a terrifying struggle between a kidnapped cop, a brilliant predator, and a former FBI profiler who feels as if he’s always one second too late.

Rainie Conner is first introduced in your novel, THE THIRD VICTIM. She is an extremely strong woman, yet haunted by certain events of her past. What does she solve about herself during the investigation?
Like most of my characters, Rainie is an imperfect person with a troubled past. I started with the concept of a small town deputy who, according to the local gossips, may have murdered her own mother. About halfway through the novel, I started wondering, why should it merely be a rumor? What if it was actually true? What would that say about this person? And my God, what kind of legacy would that be to overcome? Needless to say, suddenly Rainie, and the novel, became much more interesting.

Rainie Connor and FBI Special Agent Pierce Quincy’s story continues in THE NEXT ACCIDENT. Why did you decide to write another thriller with those characters?
As Rainie’s character evolved, it became clear to me that she had much more to say than could be covered in just one novel. So I wrote a sequel, THE NEXT ACCIDENT, where the tables are turned and this time, Quincy is the one in need and Rainie is the one who saves the day. Rainie is such a wise-ass, it was fun to spend time with her again. I think Rainie and Quincy are one of the great love stories in suspense. They drive each other crazy, but you couldn’t imagine one without the other. They are a perfect fit.

And yet, your next novel, THE KILLING HOUR, focuses on Quincy’s daughter, Kimberly Quincy, instead of continuing Rainie and Quincy as the primary characters. Why the switch?
Kimberly grew on me over the course of THE NEXT ACCIDENT, and I decided she needed a story of her own. Plus, she provided a new way to explore Quincy’s character-as he is viewed through his daughter’s eyes.

Why does she decide to become a FBI investigator, like her father?
Like most children, Kimberly has always wanted her father’s attention. In her case, that meant competing with his job for his time. Unfortunately, given the urgent nature of her father’s work, that wasn’t a war Kimberly won very often. So, in a classic case of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” Kimberly got involved in law enforcement as well. By sharing her father’s world, she is finally getting his attention-and his respect.

THE KILLING HOUR, Kimberly investigates the strange case of a psychopath who kills two victims at a time. How does this case help Kimberly grow as person?
As someone who lost her mother and her sister to a psychopath, Kimberly is haunted by death. Violence in her world isn’t an abstract concept, but something that can happen to her at any time. She is more aware of her surroundings than an ordinary person, more obsessed with personal security, body language, the stranger in a crowd. She is training to be an FBI agent-someone who hunts predators-and yet she inherently feels hunted. By taking on the case of the Eco-Killer, Kimberly gets to rise to the challenge. She gets to prove to her peers, but mostly to herself, that she is strong, capable and powerful. Once and for all, she sheds the mantle of victim, for the badge of law enforcement. I think her mother would be very proud.

In THE KILLING HOUR, Rainie and Quincy are having problems. Rainie suddenly wants marriage and children, and Quincy feels too old to start a family again. What makes Rainie suddenly want domestic bliss?
I think the whole point of having continuing characters is to show them growing and changing with age. When we first met Rainie, she was a thirty-year old survivor of sexual abuse, a woman who grew up with an alcoholic mother and struggles with alcoholism herself. At that stage of her life, she didn’t feel qualified for two-point-two children and a white picket fence. Ironically, as she met Quincy, fell in love, and came to terms with her past, she became less a product of her childhood and more her own person. Now, she can see new and interesting things-marriage, motherhood, tea cozies. Naturally, this scares the crap out of Quincy, who feels his one failing in life was fatherhood.

Yet, at the beginning of GONE Rainie and Quincy are married.
That’s what love will do for you. They’re married off camera, which upsets readers, who I guess wished I had shown it. My bad. Now I know for next time.

But at the beginning of GONE it’s not all domestic bliss.
Not at all. Which makes you wonder, for all of Rainie and Quincy’s desire to ride off into the proverbial sunset, are they really happily-ever-after kind of people? I mean, here are two strong-willing individuals who thrive doing a job that would break lesser mortals and on top of that, enjoy a good argument. Really, I can’t see them ever being too settled.

But did Rainie really need to start drinking again?
Absolutely! And it’s all my fault. When I was writing THE THIRD VICTIM, readers took me to task for a line where Rainie states, “I was an alcoholic.” As my savvy readers pointed out, there is no past tense in that sentence. Someone truly in treatment, would say, “I am an alcoholic.” So obviously, Rainie has been in denial for four novels. I couldn’t keep letting her get away with that.

But what about poor Quincy? You finally gave him a wife, then open GONE by taking her away.
I’m cruel. It’s what I do best, which begs the question why do readers want more Rainie and Quincy stories. You know that means something bad must happen to them. Actually, I think GONE is necessary for Quincy. Did he marry Rainie at the end of THE KILLING HOUR because he hoped for a happy marriage, or because he feared losing her? Marriage is all about for better or for worse. GONE gives Quincy the chance to prove he’s up to the challenge of for worse.

And we get to see Kimberly and Mac again.
Of course! Like Kimberly is going to sit back and let her father have all the fun.

Did you intend for her and Mac to end up engaged? They seem to be progressing much more quickly in their relationship that Quincy and Rainie did.
For the moment. But I have more ideas for them, too. Look for SAY GOODBYE in July 2008 when Kimberly and Mac get to face their greatest challenge, while Quincy and Rainie play the supporting roles.

Tell us about Rainie’s young charge Dougie? Was it really necessary for him to eat beetles?
Totally! Come on, what kind of child would really earn Rainie’s admiration and respect? She’s not exactly the type to fall in love with the Opies of the world. Dougie is a great fit for her. Secretive, bullheaded, clever, and a true survivor. I adored him.

What about your female sheriff Shelly Watkins? She was a tough broad, but drank herbal tea. Another intentional dichotomy?
Hey, I love herbal tea! Actually, my grandmother inspired Shelly Watkins. I don’t think strong woman are a product of woman’s lib, but have been around all along. I was blessed with two grandmothers who grew up farming in Tillamook County-the location for GONE-I can I tell you, there aren’t any tougher women around. I love Shelly, particularly her heroic acts at the end of the novel … but oops, can’t tell you more!

Finally, what is the question you are most often asked about GONE?
Ironically, the question I receive the most is that if Rainie is driving a Camry in the opening of the novel, then why does the book jacket show a Lexus? LOL! All I can say is ask the art department! I believe they didn’t like how the stock photo of the Camry looked, thinking the Lexus played better. My husband caught the contradiction (‘fraid I don’t notice these things!), and Art Department assured him no one would notice. So of course, I forward them the approximately three dozen e-mails I receive a week …

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Extras

Interview for NHPR

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Details

Bantam Dell
Hardcover January 31, 2006
Paperback December 26, 2006
Cover Art © 2005 Yook Louie

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