BOOK REVIEW: ABDUCTED (LIZZY GARDNER, #1)

abducted-trraganABDUCTED (Lizzy Gardner, #1)

Author: T. R. Ragan
Published on: July 17, 2012
Genre:
Mystery, suspense

Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible

When Lizzy Gardner was only seventeen, what should have been the perfect night became the perfect nightmare. Kidnapped just blocks from home after a romantic evening with her boyfriend, Jared, she woke up to find herself at the mercy of a depraved serial killer. Imprisoned and tormented for months by the maniac she came to know as Spiderman, Lizzy narrowly escaped, the only one of his victims to survive. But Spiderman escaped too, outwitting police and cursing Lizzy to spend her life looking over her shoulder…

Fourteen years later, Lizzy is a private investigator who teaches self-defense to teenage girls in her free time. She does what she can to help others protect themselves and to forget the horror of her ordeal, yet fears she will always be known as “the one who got away.” Then she receives a phone call from Jared, now a special agent for the FBI, with grim news. The killer has resurfaced, this time with a very specific target—Lizzy. And he’s made it clear that she will not escape him again. So begins a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, a terrifying, heart-pounding hunt that only one will survive.

REVIEW

I really enjoyed reading Abducted, and I’m looking forward to the next books in the series. There’s a thing that threw me off a bit, though: nearly every scene is preceded by a time stamp. I’m not used to that when reading novels, so I found myself going back to check how much time had passed. That’s not enough of a nuisance to deduct even half a star, though. Other than that, the novel was awesome. I soon found myself caring about Lizzy, the protagonist whose life was changed forever in an instant. No teenage girl should have to experience what Lizzy went through. As paranoid as she might seem to some, Lizzy is not your stereotype “damsel in distress.” Despite the constant protection of her teenage love, now FBI agent Jared Shayne, she has become a tough woman perfectly capable of defending herself. Lizzy now teaches self-defense to other young women. I find that very admirable, Lizzy channeling her bad experience to try to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else again.

Jared is the type of guy I once aspired to become, back during my teenage years. I’d dreamed of working in law enforcement, but I changed my mind, particularly because of the mortality rate. There are still plenty of things I would like to do in life before the end comes. I’d like to have a long life. Now, back to Jared. I like how he’s protective of Lizzy (he acts almost exactly like I would around her), but he’s a bit too hardened, which is no surprise. Jared seems good-natured, incorruptible, and as courageous as Lizzy. He also regrets having spent so much time away from Lizzy. It took Spiderman threatening Lizzy for Jared to run back to her. He’s never forgotten her, though. Lizzy has always been in Jared’s mind. He loves her.

The bad guy, dubbed “Spiderman” for his fondness for spiders, is a really twisted, psychopathic, evil man worthy of a show like Criminal Minds. He thinks he’s doing the world a service by getting rid of girls he deems “bad.” His identity is not revealed until near the end, and it comes as a surprise. Although Spiderman had a really bad experience when he was young, that doesn’t give him the right to terrorize teenage girls. Some of the things he does are the stuff of horror. How can such a dark man hide behind a trustworthy guise?

“ Was he the only one who refused to let insolent, spoiled teenage girls rule the world? 

I’ve read reviews that advice you to have a strong stomach before reading Abducted. My opinion? There are worse men than Spiderman. You need a strong stomach only if you’ve never seen so much as a nosebleed when it comes to violence. This book still has a few scenes that would come with a warning if this was a live-action film.

I liked the supporting characters in this book, too. The one I believe you aren’t going to forget in a hurry is Hayley Hansen. She is introduced at one of Lizzy’s self-defense classes. When Lizzy calls her to the front to demonstrate an abduction attempt, Hayley leaves a hell of an impression. This character is sure to raise many eyebrows. Beneath her hardened exterior is a good girl, though. Also, Hayley’s sticking around to play an important role. She’s not a one-off character.

Another important character in Abducted is Jessica Pleiss, Lizzy’s personal assistant. Jessica is smart, resourceful, and more than a little pragmatic. She’s a psychology student, and sought to work for Lizzy to gain experience in law enforcement. I think Jessica does seem to be cut out for that work, although she’s still a bit green. Despite her no-nonsense attitude, Jessica sometimes shows a good sense of humor. And she also plays a larger role than Hayley. Jessica lost a loved one in the past, and working for Lizzy may help her find the answers she needs.

Abducted is a gripping novel that will keep you turning pages well into the night. I liked the protagonist, Lizzy. She’s a broken girl, haunted by her past, but she still assumes the strength and confidence needed to protect others as a PI. I strongly recommend it, especially if you like page-turners or you are a fan of strong female protagonists.

MY RATING

A stunning page turner!

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