Review: The Third Victim – Lisa Gardner

the third victim lisa gardner cover

FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2

A perfectly peaceful day in Bakesrville, Oregon is shattered when someone walks into school and opens fire on the unsuspecting students. Officer Lorraine “Rainie” Conner is called in by her boss, Sheriff Shep O’Grady, and instructed to act as the primary on the school shooting. Confused, he explains it away as having two children in the building and being unable to be objective because of it. Arriving at the school, Rainie is shocked. Parents are screaming and crying, children are running, and there is no sign of Shep. Entering the school with a rookie cop, EMTs are wrecking the crime scene. People need saving and Rainie leaves it be. Later, however, while clearing the school, Rainie finds thirteen year old Danny O’Grady holding his father at gunpoint, and is heavily shocked and confused. Arresting the youth on the spot, Rainie has no idea what to do. Danny confesses more than once about the slayings, and soon his parents have lawyered him up and he is not talking to anyone.

State detective Abe Sanders is called in to assist with the investigation, but instead all he does is point out how flawed Rainie and her experience is, and asserting his views that Shep was in on everything and that Danny is guilty and will be charged as such. Reeling, Rainie manages to take assistance from Supervisory Special Agent Pierce Quincy with the FBI when he makes his appearance due to the fact it a) caught his eye and b) is an area of expertise for him. Rainie refuses to accept that Danny killed his favourite teacher, Miss Avalon, and shot those two little girls to death because he had a few issues at home what with his parents being on opposing ends and theoretically divorced, though neither will admit to it and make it official. Rainie is strangely drawn to Quincy, who is dealing with some rough family drama of his own when he arrives. Rainie is suffering with past dealings when what Danny is going through opens wounds – she herself was accused of murdering her mother fourteen years ago, and despite being cleared the rumours still run rampant.

The more that Rainie digs into the case, the more certain she is that someone else was involved with the events. Quincy eventually starts to get onto that train, too. The O’Grady’s are having a very hard time dealing, and Becky, Danny’s younger sister, does not seem to be recovering from what happened, and will not say one word. The family is under a lot of stress, and Rainie is trying desperately to deal with her past as well as get to the bottom of what happened at the school on the morning of the 15th of May. Melissa Avalon seems to have been the primary target of whatever went down at the school. Danny is not talking to anyone, Quincy is trying to help Rainie confront her past and whatever it is that happened to her, and the case is getting more and more complicated, proving that Danny must have been manipulated by another person, though he is guilty of doing what he did, he had a little push, too.

What caused Danny to shoot up a school? Did Danny shoot up a school? Is there really a mystery man in black, a suspect that the police had almost crossed off the list seeing as a bunch of hysterical children reported that they saw him? What will happen to the O’Grady’s now that their son is a monster and a menace in their peaceful little town? Will Rainie and Quincy start something, or are they destined to admire but never to progress? Will Rainie face what happened fourteen years ago? What exactly did transpire that day that she arrived home to find her mother dead?

GRADE 7Certainly a step up from her last work and finally more focus on her main character, Quincy. I mean he theoretically should feature prominently (the series is named after him even), and the last book he waltzed in and out within a few pages. The story was engaging and kept you interested, though it was rigidly laid out. There was a slight romance aspect to it though it was overshadowed by the suspense and the rest of the story, which I prefer. I don’t particularly like books steeped in romance and everything fluffed up around it. It was great to learn more about Quincy, and also sad to see the things that people do to one another in the midst of a tragedy. They band together, but they can also be harsh (as was evidenced by the salad Sandy O’Grady fed little Becky – it was dreadful). This was not a bad read, and moved along nicely. I have hope for the series if the second book was so much better than the first. It was interesting to hear how Rainie dealt with her past, as well as what exactly happened when it came about. Sanders made me giggle every now and then. He was pompous and egotistical and all that, but just how absurd he could be made me laugh at times. There were a lot of heavy things going down in this book, though I would say it was a reasonably good book that is worth looking into at some stage if you are looking for a new crime series. I will wait to see how the series progresses further.