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Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel Hardcover – July 13, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 422 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in the Tessa Leoni Series

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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lisa Gardner Interviews Detective D.D. Warren

Lisa Gardner: D.D.--What do you find most fascinating/frustrating about working with the new guy, crime scene expert Alex Wilson?
D.D.: Alex seems sharp. Knows his blood spatter--I respect that in a guy. ‘Course, he’s been teaching at the Academy, which is one thing, while we’re now standing in a Dorchester home with five dead and carnage in every room. I don’t want lectures, I want results. This was a family--according the neighbors, even a nice family who seemed to actually like one another. Until, of course, the father snapped and killed them all. Or did he? These are the kinds of questions I gotta ask, and Prof Alex better be ready to answer.

LG: When did you know you were going to have your own novel?
D.D.: First time I walked on scene in Alone. Please, I’m five times tougher than fellow detective Bobby Dodge and twenty times smarter. Plus, I look damn good in Jimmy Choos. Let’s see the former sniper do my job in my heels, then we’ll talk.

LG: What's the most difficult case you've ever had to handle? Why?
D.D.: These past two family homicides. For one thing, any crime involving kids wrecks you a little. For another...I don’t believe in coincidence. Here are two families, totally different neighborhoods, socioeconomics, lifestyles, etc., yet they both wind up the same way, dead. Now, what are the odds of two totally different fathers going whacko in exactly the same way? I don’t believe it, but my boss isn’t into gut feel. All comes down to evidence. I would like some. Really, it would be nice right about now. Yo, Alex...

LG: What is the thing you love most about being a Boston P.D. Sergeant?
D.D.: Being in charge, calling all the shots, being the boss. Did I mention being in charge?

LG: What's on your nightstand? What's in the drawer?
D.D.: On my nightstand--back issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin I keep meaning to read. In the drawer--emergency stash of chocolate, couple of condoms (don’t I wish), and a Kindle loaded up with the latest J.R. Ward steamy hot, seriously action-packed vampire novel. Tell anyone, and they will never find your body.

LG: Favorite food?
D.D.: I’ve always been partial to Italian. Which my squadmate Phil, told Alex all about. Now, Alex claims to be a serious Italian cook--apparently his mother is a Capozzoli and they know their Bolognese. A little wine, a little homemade pasta, a little tiramisu. All I gotta do is pick up the phone, tell him a time and date...one phone call. How hard can that be? One little call.

LG: You drive that butch police car all day. What's your idea of a dream ride?
D.D.: Walking on a beach. No car, no pager, no shoes. Just me, the wind, the waves and the cry of the gulls. I’d probably go nuts within minutes, but it would be nice to give peace a chance.

LG: Can you ever see yourself partnering successfully with another cop? Or are you the quintessential lone wolf?
D.D.: Excuse me, I love my squad and my squad loves me. Neil is one of the finest detectives around, plus better him than me viewing all the autopsies. And Phil--hey, family man, great wife, four kids, works in homicide to escape the violence. Gotta love Phil. They have my back and I have theirs. Life is good.

LG: I'm a woman traveling alone, staying in a hotel. What are your top three tips to keep me safe from psychos?
D.D.: Most hotel crimes have to do with property theft. Unfortunately, a guest walking in on a burglary, or a thief breaking in assuming the room’s vacant only to find a guest present, can lead to violence. Thus, your best defense is to always use the deadbolt, and always advertise when you’re “home,” so to speak.

  1. Bolt all locks anytime you’re in the room and hang out the Do Not Disturb Sign
  2. Double-check door is closed and latched (failures happen more than you think)
  3. Try to avoid staying in rooms closest to the elevators and/or stairs--these rooms are more frequently targeted by thieves as the location allows for quick getaways.

LG: Do you have any scars?
D.D.: Maybe, but you should see the other guy. Give as good as you get, that’s always been my motto.

LG: What's the most you've ever spent on a pair of shoes? Describe!
D.D.: Silver sequined Jimmy Choos, on sale $500. Should never have bought them, but they’re really pretty and when I wear them, I don’t look like a cop, walk like a cop, or think like a cop. How does that commercial go...? Oh yeah, priceless.

LG: If you had to: dog or cat?
D.D.: No! Never! Don’t even think it!

LG: Tell me something I don't know about you.
D.D.: I like mobiles. Don’t ask me why. But there’s something cool about looking up and watching the various shapes and colors slowly twist around. Sometimes, after a really bad day, I go home, close my eyes and create mobiles in my head--maybe one with bright origami animals, or another with silver geometric shapes. I let them go round and round, til finally I can sleep. Then when I wake up, I’ll know something critical about the crime--a piece of the puzzle I missed the day before, a clue I’d overlooked. I think it’s from focusing on patterns. That’s what crimes are, really--very violent patterns that a good detective must deconstruct, then rebuild in her head.

LG: Worst crime scene?
D.D.: The mummified remains of six girls on the grounds of the abandoned mental institute in Mattapan. Never saw anything like it, never want to again. Funny, that was Bobby Dodge’s first case as a detective (Hide)--got him a wife, and now a baby girl. But he never talks about it, and neither do I. Sometimes, finding justice for the victims isn’t enough, but it’s all we got. So a good detective walls it up, puts a Do Not Disturb Sign on that section of memory and walks away. Gotta in this job, or you’ll go mad.

LG: What do you wish you knew five years ago?
D.D.: Can a working woman have it all? Five years ago, I sweated my job. I worried I wasn’t working smart enough, closing cases fast enough. Now, I sweat my entire life. Am I working too hard? Missing out on other parts of life? Maybe I should take Alex up on his offer of homemade alfredo, except can I really be the detective I need to be, while trying to be the girlfriend I’d like to be? Can’t figure it out. So I wish that I’d realized five years ago, how good I had it. That focusing only on my policing career was a luxury I’d never have again. Spoken like a true workaholic, huh?


From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the heart of Gardner's outstanding fourth novel featuring Boston PD detective Warren (after The Neighbor) are some very sick kids, notably Lucy, a nine-year-old feral girl who self-mutilates when any attention is given to her, and Evan, an eight-year-old boy who during fits threatens to kill his mother. D.D gets involved after two grisly family annihilations lead to the locked-down pediatric psych ward in Cambridge that specializes in Lucy's and Evan's types of hard case. When a child is too sick and the parent can no longer handle care, the child ends up in the acute care facility under the tutelage of pediatric psych nurse Danielle, the lone survivor of her own family bloodbath. Coincidence? That's for D.D. to figure out--in the midst of a budding romance with police academy professor Alex Wilson and infuriating encounters with Andrew Lightfoot, resident "woo-woo expert" (that's cop talk for psychic), who works in tandem with the hospital. Plenty of red herrings keep readers guessing, but Gardner always plays fair in this tight and consistently engaging page-turner.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Series: Detective D. D. Warren
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807240
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer VINE VOICE on July 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is about three women. Actually it's about two women and the returning side-character. But for the sake of argument, let's got with three. Danielle Burton is a nurse at a locked-down pediatric psych ward in the Kirkland Medical Center in Boston where she cares for children with special needs. She herself was the lone survivor of the brutal slaying of her family. Victoria Oliver is a single mother whose son Even has a severe mental condition doctors have diagnosed over and over again. Taking care of him has taken up most of her time and has torn her family apart. Then last but not least, there is Detective Sergeant D.D Warren from Boston PD's Homicide Unit. Her squad was called to the scene of a family annihilation in Dorchester.

The story is for the most part well written. The characters of Danielle and Victoria are sympathetic characters, each equally fighting a fierce battle. For Danielle that battle is her dark past and for Victoria that battle is raising her son Even. You learn so much about these women and what they had dealt with in their lives leading up to an ending that definitely surpasses that of Gardner's previous book, The Neighbor. The only problem here is with D.D. She played the same role in this book that she played in the last three books in this so-called series. Maybe Gardner tried to through in some character development for her by teaming her up with Alex Wilson who taught at the academy, but in the end all that really did was create someone for D.D to flirt and maybe get serious with. It didn't tell us what kind of person D.D is, why she does what she does what kind of family does she come from. She likes eating, sex and wearing nice clothes. That doesn't say much. She's kind of pushy and sometimes too much for her own good. She likes to be the boss.
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