Beth Leiss

Touch and Go

By Lisa Gardner

Dutton, Penguin Group (publisher)

There isn't any other thing that gets the brain working like a good mystery. I like all kinds of books, but every now and then I need to really get into a good page turner that has you guessing "who done it," and reading into the middle of the night.

Crime novelist, Lisa Gardner has written several books, and it's a strange thing that I haven't read any of them, until now. I had heard of her, but apparently, I was in the middle of another great read and somehow didn't get around to grabbing one of her bestselling works.

I'm not a book flap reader. I choose not to read anything about a book other than what's on the front cover. This has worked well for me, as I may jump into something that I would otherwise view as not my kind of book and thoroughly enjoy it. I can't understand people who read the end of a book before they get to it in the normal fashion.

In "Touch and Go," Libby is a Bostonian, 40-something wife, mother and jewelry artist that feels she has just been handed a grenade. Her handsome, successful and otherwise adoring husband, Justin, has been having an affair with a much younger woman, and Libby has found a treacherous way to deal, or not deal, with it. Libby thinks their 15 year old daughter seems fine, considering the circumstances, and who doesn't know exactly what drove a wedge between her parents.

In an attempt to start building back their marriage and trust, a planned date night for the divided couple finds both of them trying to enjoy a favorite restaurant and dish. But the terror they will encounter upon returning home will immediately get the reader paying attention to detail. What follows is a kidnapping of the family and several possible scenarios. About the time the reader thinks they have it figured out, this author throws in another tidbit of information that makes you reconsider. The FBI, local police and private eye simply provide the reader with information they have learned, but the reader clearly is invited to take it all in and explore the situation with added insight from Libby.

With several people that may have a reason to seek revenge on the family business, we are introduced to employees of Justin Denbe's company, a hairdresser and the younger woman who had the dalliance with Justin. We learn about daughter, Ashlyn's, true knowledge of the affair and her quick anger towards the young woman.

The relationship between the Denbes and the kidnappers holds a few clues to the real nature of the assault. Will you figure it out before the end of the book? Don't count on it. Gardner does a fine job of keeping our brains fired up and guessing. I will be reading more Lisa Gardner novels after experiencing this book.

Beth Leiss was raised in Bismarck and has always enjoyed reading all kinds of books. Her dream is to pass her love of reading on to her girls as her mother passed it on to her.