It begins with a femur. When a couple detour off their hiking trail in the Georgia hills and find the weathered leg bone, and then more female remains, it seems likely to be the work of a known predator. But an ever-growing group of investigators discovers there’s more to this laid-back community than just one notorious monster. When You See Me is most frightening when it shows us the boogeymen we meet and interact with every day.
Lisa Gardner’s latest novel once again unites Sergeant D.D. Warren and Flora Dane, the survivor of a brutal abduction who has repaid some of that abuse in the years since. They make a good team, especially since only one is bound to obey laws. Flora and Keith, her maybe-boyfriend who adds tech skills to the team, investigate the small town near the burial site with Warren and FBI Speical Agent Kimberly Quincy. Chapter narration alternates between Warren, Flora, Quincy and a young, mysterious figure who is unable to speak; for her, this is anything but a cold case. When her story intersects with the investigation, the stakes and tension ratchet up quickly.
When You See Me is most frightening when it shows us the boogeymen we meet and interact with every day.
Warren, Dane and Quincy struggle to square the folksy demeanor of people they interview with what appears to be a fairly long, dark history of criminal behavior. It’s hard to know who to trust when talking to people well-trained in the art of people-pleasing to ensure repeat business. Meanwhile, the one person desperate to tell the truth and exact justice has lost her voice entirely. The twists and turns keep peeling veils off an evil nobody wants to look at head-on, and it all culminates in a breakneck final act. The forensic analysis of shallow graves can unearth a lot of clues, but When You See Me also looks at the ways evil is handed down from one generation to the next. It’s a mystery that will keep you up late at night, haunted by the events within its pages.