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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad woo-woo on the interplanes
LIVE TO TELL is the fourth book in best-selling author Lisa Gardner's Detective D.D. Warren series; for all the horror of its subject matter, readers will find it impossible to put down. D.D. Warren is a thirty-eight year old blonde, head of a three-person homicide unit in the Boston Police Department. Her work gives her little time for a personal life.

The...
Published on May 30, 2010 by Linda Bulger

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113 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Story of Violent Children Mixed With Murder Mystery
I've read almost all of Lisa Gardner's books (with my favorites being her Quincy and Rainie books). Lately, though, I was wondering if she had lost her mojo. I thought her last book, The Neighbor, was just OK. But I'm nothing if not loyal (until you write at least three awful books in a row), so I thought I'd give Gardner another try. Well, I'm glad I gave Gardner the...
Published on July 13, 2010 by Jennifer


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113 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Story of Violent Children Mixed With Murder Mystery, July 13, 2010
By 
Jennifer "Jenners" (Sicklerville, NJ, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I've read almost all of Lisa Gardner's books (with my favorites being her Quincy and Rainie books). Lately, though, I was wondering if she had lost her mojo. I thought her last book, The Neighbor, was just OK. But I'm nothing if not loyal (until you write at least three awful books in a row), so I thought I'd give Gardner another try. Well, I'm glad I gave Gardner the benefit of the doubt because this book was one of her better ones.

There are a lot of books out there (including Gardner's books) that deal with twisted psyches and unimaginable violence. But what makes this book so disturbing is that it acknowledges that sometimes the twisted psyches belong to children. In her Author's Note, Gardner talks about friends of hers who had a troubled child and their struggles to find a way to save their son. Like Gardner, I tended to believe that troubled children were that way because of abuse and neglect. It is easier to understand how children who have been beaten, abused, tortured, or neglected become violent or primal. What isn't easy to understand is when a child with loving and attentive parents is violent. Isn't such behavior the result of nurture ... not nature? I think we all would prefer to believe this. But, as we learn throughout this book, that isn't always the case. Sometimes children are born without the psychological make-up they need to interact appropriately with others. Mental health professionals and facilities (like the locked-down pediatric psych ward described in the book) are working with these children to help them function in society.

This is Gardner's fourth D.D. Warren book, and I'm still unclear why D.D. is a recurring character as she doesn't seem particularly well-developed. Four books in and all I really know about her is that she is too involved with her job to have a life. Although Gardner attempts to give Warren a bit of romance in this book, I didn't find that storyline all that compelling, and I honestly don't give much thought to this being "A Detective D.D. Warren Novel." (A fact that was trumpeted across the front of my ARC.) To be honest, the characters of Danielle and Victoria were better developed than D.D.'s character. This doesn't really detract from the book, I guess. D.D. simply functions as the reader's way of getting information to solve the crime. Yet it seems a bit odd to create a detective and build books around her without giving her much of a personal life or back story.

My Final Recommendation

If you're a Lisa Gardner fan, I think this was one of her better books. The story is disturbing and harrowing and will take you to places you might not want to go. If you're a fan of disturbing, psychological mysteries, this would be an excellent choice for you. However, if these types of books aren't your cup of tea, stay away! This book is candid in its descriptions of violent children and makes you want to take a long hot shower afterward.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad woo-woo on the interplanes, May 30, 2010
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LIVE TO TELL is the fourth book in best-selling author Lisa Gardner's Detective D.D. Warren series; for all the horror of its subject matter, readers will find it impossible to put down. D.D. Warren is a thirty-eight year old blonde, head of a three-person homicide unit in the Boston Police Department. Her work gives her little time for a personal life.

The call that interrupts D.D.'s latest blind date is horrific: a "family annihilation," the murder-suicide of a family of five. It appears that the father succumbed to the pressure of financial problems and perpetrated this terrible deed. But when another family suffers the same fate the very next night, D.D.'s cop instinct tells her to look for connections--and the connections lead to a locked-down children's acute psych unit where the most troubled of children are brought for care.

One of the caregivers at the psych unit, Danielle, has her own crushing past. She was the sole survivor of the near-annihilation of her own family and, unable to leave the past behind, she is burying herself in her work as the twenty-fifth anniversary of that event draws near. It's clear that Danielle is in some sense a link between the past and the present, but what is the nature of that link?

The medical system offers all too little for these explosive children and their families. Some are the victims of abuse or gross neglect but others have caring families and are victims of their own chemistry. The pharmaceuticals that usually work on adults with crippling mood disorders are far less effective in children. The kind of collaborative therapies that have some success in a locked therapeutic environment are extremely hard to maintain in a family home. Is it any wonder that families sometimes seek healing from a different plane--the spiritual plane? Several of the families in D.D.'s case have worked with a spiritual healer who teaches the children techniques for fighting off the darkness threatening to overwhelm their spirits. We may not warm to the character of the healer, Andrew, and D.D. is intensely skeptical of his work with (as he describes it) "souls in the interplanes," locked in the void between the planes of existence, struggling to complete their missions and move on. Even Andrew himself refers to his work as "woo-woo" but claims it's as valid as a good cop's intuition.

Dark though the story is, the writing is so effective that you are in a sense left to draw your own conclusions in the end. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, and that's all we really need to know. Or ... is it?

Linda Bulger, 2010
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, super intense book, June 4, 2010
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This was a great book. And while there was some difficult subject matter dealt with, it was nothing compared to "Say Goodbye." That books still gives me the chills and keeps me up at night. This one was more like your basic good thriller. I took me a while to see where the book was going...there were some supernatural elements that threw me for a loop. I liked the way the point of view switched between various characters. I really felt for Victoria, Evan, Michael and Chelsea, and they had a great storyline. The main mystery was pretty well set up and I really was not sure what happened until the end, so nothing too obvious on that front. Really, this was a solid mystery that I really enjoyed reading and I can't wait for DD Warren to make her next appearance...hopefully Alex too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-stop action, drama, tragedy with just enough mystery to keep it suspenseful!, June 2, 2010
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This is a Detective D.D. Warren novel and I've read at least one other. This story she is not as much the center as two other young women share the "lead" with her. The first we meet in the Prologue is Danielle. She is telling the story of when she was 9 years old and awoken by a scream in the middle of the night. She smelled a smoky odor and heard pounding footsteps and thuds of something falling and then her father coming to her bedroom doorway singing "Danny girl" and in the doorway she sees him put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. Next she remembers being carried out by a kind police sheriff and family friend. What happened, Danielle doesn't remember but her mother, father, sister and brother are all dead and she is the only survivor. She goes to live with her aunt, her mother's sister who looks just like her, and Danielle also gets therapy. As an adult now in present-day, she is a pediatric psych nurse and works in a locked-down ward with very disturbed children.

The next woman in the story is D.D. Warren who is out on a date for the first time in a VERY long time when her pager goes off and she is called to a most horrific homicide scene! Three children and a mom are dead and the father in the hospital after attempted suicide. What has gone so very wrong in this family? Also at the scene is Alex, a professor at the police academy getting some field work in.

Finally, we meet Victoria. He says to her "I'm thirsty." She asks, "What would you like?". He replies "Woman, bring me a drink or I'll break your ____ face." Victoria guesses at what he wants and guesses wrong so he throws the drink and mug at her. He attacks her and chases her. Unbelievably violent!! As the chapter comes to a close, the reader finds out that this "man" is Victoria's 8 year old son!!

As Ms. Gardner, works each of these stories individually and pulls them closer together, the suspense, revelations and startling violence keep the reader stuck like glue to continuing the story to the end. I could NOT put this book down until I was finished!!

I will note here also that I am reading an advance proof copy so the couple short lines I quote may or may not be in the final book but I was using them primarily to set the mood and interaction between Victoria and Evan, her son, so the important thing is the attitudes of each.

Highly recommended!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting abnormal psych lesson, March 22, 2011
This review is from: Live to Tell ( D. D. Warren, Book 4) (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read and enjoyed a few books by this author but not this one. Too much abnormal child psych - which I find very interesting, but isn't what I'm looking for when I sit down with a mystery/thriller.

Worse though, is that the mysterious and thrilling parts of the book are pretty much absent. The 'who' is obvious from fairly early on and there really is not much character or plot development. The author's focus is on explaining the psychology and treatment of mentally ill children instead of producing a quality fictional story.

I'm sure I will read another book by this author but definitely not one of them with D.D Warren. I found her boring and unlikeable and was very surprised to see the series revolves around her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite D.D. Warren book, January 26, 2012
This review is from: Live to Tell ( D. D. Warren, Book 4) (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my least favorite of the D.D. Warren books (although, I haven't read the next one yet). I think these books are getting progressively worse as the series goes along, so I don't have much hope for the next one. I really enjoyed the first two (Alone and Hide). Both, especially Alone, were disturbing, but I could not put them down! I wanted to know what was going on and was surprised at each ending. But, with this book it was painfully obvious who was to blame for the murders. I was also frustrated at the end with D.D. not picking up on things quick enough. I felt like smacking my head and saying, "Duh!" D.D. is also starting to get on my nerves with her tendency to latch onto one suspect no matter what the clues say. And how many times do I have to hear how she looks like a model and eats like a truck driver? My last annoyance with this book and the entire series is how Gardner seems to be formulaic with her plot lines. The same things happen or have happened to the characters in each book and it gets difficult to read after a while. I only gave it three stars instead of two, because it's an easy read and that's nice sometimes. I'm hoping Gardner's other series and stand alone books are better than this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Live every day as if it were your last and some day you'll be right." Morant, May 13, 2011
This review is from: Live to Tell ( D. D. Warren, Book 4) (Mass Market Paperback)
How does a parent react when their child is out of control and exhibits violent tendencies? What remedies are there when the mental situation becomes life threatening?

Questions such as these are at the heart of a number of families in the Boston area.

As the novel opens, we follow events in a Boston neighborhood that has had it's share of violence. Four members of a family are savagely killed. It looks like the father, committed the crime and then attempted suicide. He is clinging to life.

The following day, an entire family is killed in another part of the city. There doesn't seem to be anything connecting the crimes.

Lisa Gardner's excellent crime detective, D.D. Warren of the Boston homicide division is brought in and after viewing the crime scenes, comes to feel that there is too much here to be coincidental.

Danielle Burton is a phychiatric nurse whose family was killed by her intoxicated father, twenty five years ago. She was the only survivor and now works in a Boston psych ward trying to help other tramatized children.

D.D. continues to try to find anything that could link the families and discovers that one child from each family had been patients at a Boston psychiatric ward.

D.D. visits the ward where Danielle works and learns that there were a number of connections.

This is an extremely suspenseful story that covers an emotional area that is difficult to read about. However, the story has so much going for it that it was difficult to stop.

There is good character build-up as we observe D.D.'s life outside of her job and Danielle's attempts to go on with her life after her childhood tragedy.

Lisa Gardner writes a story where the reader comes to think that the plot is going in one direction, only to be surprised and entertained when the story changes course.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A taut, fast-paced page turner, January 5, 2011
By 
C. Young (Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Live to Tell ( D. D. Warren, Book 4) (Mass Market Paperback)
I started this book on a flight back home and could not rest until I've devoured it in one day.

Detective D.D. Warren was in the middle of a date when she was called out to a crime scene. The nature of the crime is horrific - that of a family annihilation in which a husband allegedly shot his wife, his 3 kids, and then turned the gun on himself. As D.D. delves into the mystery, however, inconsistencies between the physical and circumstantial evidence convinces her that there is more to this crime than meets the eye; and when yet another family gets annihilated, her investigation eventually leads her to a pediatric psych word that specializes in acute care for children with mental illness. There, she also meets Danielle Burton, a nurse with her own tragic past who seems to be the link between 2 seemingly unrelated crimes. Has Danielle been driven by her own tragic past and fractured psyche to commit these unspeakable acts of violence, or is there someone else lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike again?

To me, the strength of this book definitely lies in the intricate plotting. The point of view alternates between D.D., Danielle, and Victoria - a mom with a mentally ill son whose tie to all that is going on may not be obvious from the first. Through D.D.'s investigation, and Danielle and Victoria's voices, we are fed pieces of information - with some red herrings along the way - that may or may not be relevant in figuring out whoddunit. These all come together at the end when Danielle, D.D. and Victoria's paths inevitably cross and results in an explosive showdown when the killer is revealed. Equally impressive is author's portrayal of several of the mentally disturbed children in the psych ward and her description of what a typical day is like in such an institution. Miss Gardner has definitely done her research and was able to provide the insight she has gained by weaving it into the plot, instead of conveying them in a preachy manner.

As for the weakness that prevented this from being a 4 or 5 star read for me, that will have to be the main protagonist herself. As another reviewer on this board has stated, very little backstory has been provided for D.D. to make her a three-dimensional character, other than the fact that she has not gotten any in a while and really, really wants sex. However, the lack of a backstory did not bother me as much as the fact that D.D. is essentially a B**tch with a capital B. Her method of investigating is basically trying to steamroll through and be nasty to everyone, whether they are suspects or not. Given the fact that many of the people she encountered during the course of her investigation are people with tragic pasts, the way she treats them and the lack of sympathy she exhibited towards them had me grinding my teeth. At one point, when it has become clear that the people in the room are no longer viable suspects and she barks at them anyway, saying "when I come back, I'll decide whether or not to arrest you", I almost threw my book against the wall. I also thought that the killer's motivation for committing those crimes kind of a stretch; and that the obligatory love interest provided for D.D. in the form of crime scene expert Alex Wilson is completely unnecessary as there is no chemistry there at all and I can't see any redeeming quality in D.D. that would make any man interested in her.

Given the strengths of this book, I will definitely be checking out more of Lisa Gardner's books. However, I will probably try something other than the books that features Detective D.D. Warren. Hopefully the heroines in her other books will be more palatable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Getting Disappointed, November 2, 2010
By 
PointGirl (Point Edward, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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I am an avid reader and was looking for new authors to enjoy. I tried a sample of one of Lisa Gardner's books and decided I liked her writing enough to get involved. I ordered every book she had written. I like to start at the beginning because so many authors refer to past novels in their current books.

I really enjoyed all her books up till this one. They all have a sense of validity, good research, and most important you never have any idea of how the ending will come about until you get there. All in all, my kind of book.

"Live to Tell" is one of the Detective D.D. Warren series. So far I have enjoyed them but D.D. Warren is turning into a B---ch with a capital B. She has developed an extremely foul mouth (which I don't appeciate) and spends most of her time thinking about getting laid. She shows less and less compassion and is slowly losing all socially acceptable behavior. I know her job is tough and she is a cop, BUT isn't she still a little bit human? I really liked her in the first novels.

I am not a T.V. fan so I do read quite a bit. I usually go through a book every 2 - 3 days. I have been at this one for a week now and am just rounding the 50% point. I will finish it but that's it for me with Lisa Gardner books and I will have to go back to all the people I praised her to.

For those of you who are younger and are use to the foul language which is today's norm and don't bother with social acceptability you will probably enjoy her books. She really is a good writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise but ho-hum Detective!, August 13, 2010
We must bear witness. We must live to tell the tale." This is what nurse Danielle Burton has to say about being the sole survivor of a family tragedy where her father killed everyone including himself - mysteriously leaving her untouched.

As a nurse who works with problem children, Danielle draws suspicion upon herself and her department as two simllar family tragedies occur at the 25th anniversary of her own family tragedy. To make things more interesting, both of the families involved had children that were cared for at Danielle's facility.

D.D. Warren, the detective featured in Gardner's previous (and far superiour novel, "The Neighbor) is once again on the case here. However, where in the prior novel Warren was an afterthought, in "LIve To Tell" she is firmly in charge. This is not a good thing as Warren is a sex-starved, sleep-deprived, lacluster character that constantly seems clueless as to what is apparently going on (I figured this one out way before she even had a sniff).

What started as a real unique premise turns into a very ordinary thriller and I'm surprised that D.D.Warren has already been announced as the star of Gardner's next mystery. She should go back to more effective, stand-alone thrillers and leave Warren in her clueless dust!
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Live to Tell ( D. D. Warren, Book 4)
Live to Tell ( D. D. Warren, Book 4) by Lisa Gardner (Mass Market Paperback - December 28, 2010)
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