Authors Showcase: Dead Weight by T. R. Ragan
June 3, 2015
The Book: Dead Weight
The Author: T. R. Ragan
The Story: Private investigator Lizzy Gardner knows a thing or two about living in the past. As a teenager, she was terrorized by a serial killer, an ordeal that haunted her for more than a decade before the maniac was finally stopped. So when terminally ill Ruth Fullerton begs Lizzy to reopen the cold case into her daughter’s disappearance, it’s hard to say no. More than twenty years have passed since Carol Fullerton vanished, abandoning her car by the side of a California freeway. The police wrote her off as a runaway, yet something tells Lizzy the truth isn’t so simple…
Carol’s cold case has barely begun to thaw when Andrea Kramer shows up at Lizzy’s door. Andrea’s sister, Diane, has been missing for months, and she’s convinced a charismatic weight-loss guru—part Tony Robbins and part Richard Simmons—is responsible. Diane was obese, but could her obsession with losing weight have led to her disappearance?
As if two active missing persons cases weren’t enough, Lizzy is also trying to manage her two teenage assistants, including one as wounded and haunted by her past as Lizzy.
Fast-paced and deftly plotted, this impressive follow-up to the best-selling Abducted finds Sacramento PI Lizzy Gardner in over her head—but more determined than ever to help those no one else will.
About T. R. Ragan:
Theresa has garnered six Golden Heart nominations in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Competition for her work.
She lives with her husband, Joe, and the youngest of her four children in Sacramento, California. Theresa Ragan writes medieval time travels, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and romantic thrillers under the pen name T.R. Ragan.
You can visit Theresa at http://www.theresaragan.com
Review by E. Elliot:
This was a great follow-up to the first in the Lizzy Gardner series. Lizzy is still damaged from all she’s been through, but is determined to keep her business and her life somewhat together. Hayley and Jessica are still very much a part of Lizzy’s life and we get to learn even more about what makes Hayley tick. Just as in the first, no one moves on too easily from the scars they’ve had to bear in their lives and in my opinion, that makes all of the characters feel more realistic.
There were a few points in the story where I thought it was getting too predictable, only to find out my predictions were completely wrong! I ended up happily surprised at every plot twist and turn. The two main mysteries that Lizzy is working on, along with the smaller side cases, are interesting and the cold case in particular, reads like something I’d watch on Dateline or some such show.
It held my interest and I was shocked at its conclusion. The weight-loss mystery is a bit more contrived, but entertaining nonetheless. I am really looking forward to seeing more of these characters in future books!
This is the second in the Lizzy Gardner series. I liked this book a lot, but not quite as much as the first book, Abducted.
I was happy to see that the characters of Hailey and Jessica return as well as Lizzie’s beau, the handsome FBI agent.
Lizzy has primarily two cases to solve here although a couple of side cases also come into play. I loved the twists and turns, the fact that I thought I had it figured out the perps in both cases only to find out I was wrong.
There’s a lot about Hayley and what makes her tick which I especially liked. The author accurately reflects that a past horrific trauma is not something one “gets over” but that the healing comes gradually and even then it’s like gluing the pieces of a broken vase back together. There’s healing, but never will be a return to “like new”.
Jessica and Hailey are both Lizzie’s assistants and both dislike each other to the point of not speaking to one another. Yet their common concern for Lizzy and helping her solve the cases outweighs their dislike of each other. Through the book they come to care about each other even though they show it in different ways.
I like the idea of having an emotionally wounded investigator. Lizzy has her commitment issues as well as the emotional bruises from her previous abduction(s). She proves herself to be not just a survivor, but a “thriver”. as she refuses to allow her past to keep her back in moving forward in her life.
The mysteries she has to solve, the disappearance of two women, one a cold case and one a current one are exciting and keeps the reader guessing constantly. I love the suspense in these situations.