Publication Date: June 30, 2011
Lisa Rayburn is a psychologist and T.J. Peacock is a former police officer turned security consultant. Together they vow to do what the police will not—find out why so many abused women are disappearing in the Milwaukee area. When Lisa’s doppelgänger is killed they know they’re getting close to a person who will do anything to keep his or her secret.
It’s worth noting before I launch into this review that Tammy Dewhirst reads a lot. Until I launched Rabid Reader’s Reviews, I read mostly mystery and romance. I have read this book before. I am not making an allegation that Madison plagiarized any of her work, but that to someone who reads less the story line, construction and characters might seem fresh and new. The Bible originally said, “There is nothing new under the sun” and while that quote has been credited to a score of the speakers over the ages, the intent is often proven in fiction and sadly, this is just one of those times.
From a construction standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with this novel. The characters are well written and the story line well plotted. There are certain aspects that ring true. Madison is clearly an author who knows a lot about the psychology of abuse. It would have been nice if, in the heavy atmosphere of the subject matter, some of the characters had put aside their personal issues for the extent of the story line (an example of an author who does this well is John Sandford in his Lucas Davenport series). The reader knows that the character has these issues but we’re not dwelling on them AND the content of the plot makes everything feel muddled.
Lisa and T.J. are very much an odd couple. Madison writes the dynamic of the women very well. They are a team and, for both of the women failure is not an option. Madison follows them as they build a bond that makes this novel a true gem. Strong female teams in mystery are rare and these women are unstoppable.She’s Not There is a novel that starts very slowly. If you keep on reading to the end you might find an unexpected prize. I’m not sorry that I read this novel. While not the novel I enjoyed the most this year, it’s not the one I enjoyed the least. Research shows me that She’s Not There was Madison’s debut novel and I’m curious to see how she’s developed as a writer. My recommendation would certainly be toward those readers looking for strong female leads.
If this sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy She’s Not There (TJ Peacock & Lisa Rayburn Mysteries Book 1) by Marla Madison on