• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of One Step Too Far (Frankie Elkin #2) by Lisa Gardner

The heart of the mystery the emotionally tortured Frankie uncovers in the wilds of Wyoming in One Step Too Far includes heart-stopping elements I won't soon be able to forget.

Lisa Gardner's recent mystery One Step Too Far is the second in her Frankie Elkin series (the first was Before She Disappeared, which I thought was great).

Frankie Elkin isn't a cop and she isn't a private investigator. She's an unassuming middle-aged woman and a recovering alcoholic who has a compulsion: to locate missing people the authorities haven't been able to find. She also has ghosts in her past that she's trying to outrun.

In One Step Too Far, she turns her attention to a cold case in Wyoming: a man who went missing in a national forest while on a pre-wedding camping trip with his best friends. Frankie joins the group's annual search of a remote area where Tim might have ended up. But members of the group are keeping weighty secrets, and Frankie fears they may not all make it out of the wilderness alive.

I like that Frankie is an equal-opportunity problem solver, but I admit that I missed the focus on searching for women and girls that was at the heart of Before She Disappeared. In One Step Too Far, Frankie continues to grapple with the darkness and tragedy of her past but also considers different versions of her life in which she could be committed and vulnerable to important figures from the first book. It seems like she may finally be on path that could end in her allowing herself to love--but it's not clear how winding the path is and how long it may take her to get to the end.

She does forge connections with some of those on her ill-fated wilderness search--while trying to figure out who among the searchers in the woods is lying and why.

One Step Too Far felt far more eerie than Before She Disappeared, and haunting, creepy elements are uncovered here that I won't soon forget.

I received a prepublication digital copy of this recently published book courtesy of NetGalley and Dutton Books.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I love a character-driven mystery but haven't read any of Lisa Gardner's other series.

Gardner is also the author of Before She Disappeared, the first in the Frankie Elkin series, as well as multiple other mystery series (Tessa Leoni, Detective D.D. Warren, and Quincy and Rainie).