A year ago I read my first book by Lisa Gardner, Before She Disappeared, and in the review I said it wouldn’t be my last. When the second book in the series about Frankie Elkin, self-appointed missing persons expert, came up on NetGalley, I knew I had to read One Step Too Far.
Frankie is on a bus in Wyoming, heading to her next case — a missing 8-year-old boy in Idaho — when she learns about Timothy O’Day. Tim and his 4 groomsmen were hiking in the Pogo Agie Wilderness 5 years earlier when Tim disappeared. His father, Martin, is leading one last search for his son at the request of his dying wife. Along for the ride are the groomsmen, a search-and-rescue dog and her handler, a Bigfoot expert familiar with wilderness searches, and a local as their guide. When one of the groomsmen suddenly can’t make the trek, Frankie volunteers to take his spot.
While Frankie is an expert at searching for missing people, her expertise lie more in asking questions that others haven’t thought of, and being able to cover areas that law enforcement can’t. She’s out of her element with the hiking, camping, and outdoor experience, not to mention gear, needed for the last-ditch search area terrain.
The supporting cast is an interesting one. Something about the story of what happened the night of Tim’s disappearance doesn’t add up, and Frankie is determined to get to the bottom of it. The friends have agreed to this one last search, but each has their own secrets they’re hiding.
I enjoyed One Step Too Far‘s setting of the Wyoming wilderness — the exact opposite of inner city Boston from the first book — plus the mystery of what happened to Tim, which I did not figure out at all. While Frankie’s alcoholism took less of center stage in this one, we learn more about her childhood and the roots of her drinking.
Whenever I review a book in a series I consider whether reading previous books are necessary for full enjoyment of the new one. In this case, I would say it’s not. I did enjoy Before She Disappeared more, and while events in that book are referenced, I don’t think readers would feel like they’re missing anything by not reading that one first.
If you enjoy thrillers set in the outdoors, secrets, and introspective heroines, check out One Step Too Far.