Author: T. R. Ragan
Published on: August 4, 2015
Genre: Mystery, suspense
Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible
Private investigator Lizzy Gardner believed in law and order once. But after losing a loved one to a killer and watching too many vicious predators game the system and walk free, she’s traded flawed justice for perfect vengeance.
Together with her tough and trusted assistants, Lizzy is tracking down a list of Sacramento’s worst offenders and dealing out the payback they deserve. But she may be lethally outmatched by a new criminal, a murderer the papers have dubbed the Sacramento Strangler. This ritualistic serial killer is dropping corpses and cryptic clues at a shocking rate—and he’s growing bolder and bloodier the longer he’s at large.
In the suspenseful finale to the Lizzy Gardner series, bestselling author T.R. Ragan’s gutsy heroine lashes out against the relentless onslaught of evil as she desperately fights to hang on to her own humanity.
Over four years since tenacious PI Lizzy Gardner made her debut, the final book in her series is here. Lizzy has since become one of my favorite fictional characters. Although she’s pretty on the surface, she is considerably damaged inside. After escaping from the clutches of a twisted serial killer, Lizzy grew up to become a private investigator and a self-defense instructor. She wanted to do her part in helping other women defend themselves from the monsters of the world. The depth of Lizzy’s character and her bravery and sharp mind are some reasons why I admire her.
In this last installment, Lizzy is even more damaged than ever. After her would-be husband (FBI agent Jared Shayne) succumbed to the gunshot wounds he sustained during a surprise attack, Lizzy hasn’t been the same. Now she harbors a bitter, dreadful anger towards the criminals and wrongdoers out there. Seemingly crossing over to the dark side, Lizzy partners with Hayley and Kitally to take justice into their own hands. The criminals they target become the main villains this time around. That means there are more than just one or two bad guys in this final Lizzy Gardner book. One of these is the strongest, and one of the main antagonists.
Hayley Hansen doesn’t change much this book. She isn’t in too much danger of her dark side taking over, either. Despite that, Hayley is still willing to kill bad guys if necessary. She keeps this a secret from the others, knowing how they would react. Although Hayley is on the side of the good guys, she operates with the morals of a criminal. This is one girl who fights evil with evil. In Evil Never Dies, Hayley seems to meet her match, in the form of one of the criminals she, Lizzy, and Kitally are targeting.
Kitally rounds out the vigilante trio. Due to her wealth, she bankrolls their activities in part. Kitally isn’t nearly as broken as Hayley or Lizzy, so she assists them mostly out of duty and loyalty. Kitally doesn’t have a reason to be on a vendetta against criminals, even though she got herself into a few dangerous situations before. She also has as much intelligence as money. Using her intellect, Kitally develops a few novel weapons. You’d think these are included on the book just for decoration, but remember! This is T.R. Ragan. She doesn’t show you a gun on the second act and not have a character fire it on the third.
Jessica Pleiss, Lizzy’s first-ever assistant, is also back once more. She is on the verge of completing her training to become an FBI agent. During the events of Evil Never Dies, Jessica assists in the efforts to catch the Sacramento Strangler. Investigators are being spread thin, so they had to call upon Jessica for assistance. They are having trouble identifying the killer, who leaves seemingly random clues behind on every crime scene. With Lizzy’s help, Jessica may be able to solve this enigma and prove herself as an investigator.
The journey that started in Abducted has led to this. Lizzy starts to feel guilty for some of the decisions she’s made, which she believes ended up causing her loved ones harm. This time, Lizzy’s character mirrors Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, as they both question whether a person can stay decent in an indecent world. Will Lizzy be consumed by her pain, or will she get the happy ending that seems so out of reach? Hayley is going through a similar situation as well. She has plenty of darkness and pain. It makes Hayley wonder if she can ever have a normal life. The opportunity is there, as Tommy Ellis (a character who first appeared in Dead Weight) is still in love with Hayley. Their romance is one of the more interesting parts of the Lizzy Gardner series. You couldn’t come up with a more mismatched pair of lovers than these. Tommy has all of Lizzy’s desire to help others and none of the pain. He’s never wavered in his devotion toward Hayley, though, which speaks a lot about him.
Every loose end and character arc is wrapped up in this conclusion to the Lizzy Gardner series. Are Lizzy and co. going to find peace, or will they meet tragic ends? If you’ve enjoyed this series, as I have, you’ll be satisfied with this book. It’s sort of bittersweet to say goodbye to these awesome characters, though. Lizzy, Jessica, Hayley, and Kitally were great. This book definitely wraps up their journey with a bang.
Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!
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