Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

The little bookstore that's bigger on the inside

This week the New arrivals page will be a bit different than usual. We will only be focusing on one new arrival, Never Tell by Lisa Gardner. To give you a little background, Lisa Gardner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty suspense novels, including The Neighbor, which won Thriller of the Year from the International Thriller Writers. An avid hiker, traveler and cribbage player, she lives with in the mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

Lisa Gardner Pic credit Philbrick Photography

Photo Credit: Philbrick Photography

Lisa wrote an original character sketch of Flora Dane (one of the fan favorite characters in NEVER TELL). This is right now, an EXCLUSIVE for Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester. No one else has this yet! To really understand Never Tell, it’s best to understand Flora Dane.

Flora Dane by Lisa Gardner

             My name is Flora Dane.  Once I was an ordinary teen.  I grew up on my mother’s organic farm in the wilds of Maine, racing through the woods with my older brother Darwin while trying to tame foxes.  My mother named me in honor of Florence Nightingale; she wanted my brother and me to dream big.

When I first disappeared, my brother Darwin left college to run the social media campaign pleading for my safe return.  He posted candid photos, childhood stories, anything to humanize me so my unknown kidnapper would be less likely to kill me.  My mother turned in her mismatched flannels to appear on national news programs begging for my life.  She wore a silver fox charm around her throat, and in seedy hotel rooms, I would watch the interviews and cry, because whether she or my brother knew it, the girl they once loved was already gone.

My name is Flora Dane.  Once I was a kidnap victim.

Jacob Ness held me for four hundred and seventy-two days.  He was a monster, a beast, who’d lock me a coffin-sized box for days on end, then show up with my favorite TV show to prove he cared.  He’d starve me, then suddenly return with piles of food, new clothes, a special trinket.  Jacob broke me.  Then, he rebuilt me into the playmate he’d always wanted.  He told me during all our hours and days together that he would be the most powerful relationship I ever had.  He wasn’t wrong.

My name is Flora Dane.  I am a vigilante.

I killed Jacob Ness.  I put a bullet through his brain as a SWAT team stormed the hotel room and men in black armor screamed at me to put the gun down.  I did.  Eventually.  But every night, I still dream of Jacob.  The terrible smell of his breath.  The feel of the blood I’ll never get off my hands.  The sound of his mocking laugh ringing in my ears.  So I took up self-defense.  Then firearms training.  Then all sorts of things you can do with chemical fire, or plastic straws, or metal bobby pins.  It’s been five years now.  Some people sleep at night.  Personally, I hunt the streets of Boston.  I look for the girl I once was—wild, trusting, naïve—and I save her.

While I grow leaner and harder and colder.  My brother left the country because the sight of me hurts too much.  My mother refuses to give up, even though I flinch at physical contact and no longer return her hugs.  She still believes one day her little girl will return to her.   She doesn’t know how much I long for the same; I simply know better.

My name is Flora Dane.  Once I was a plaything for a monster.  Now, I am a hunter of predators.  I am a victim.  I am a vigilante.  But mostly…

I am Flora Dane and I am a survivor.

The story of Never Tell:

Never Tell Cover in 3D

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

Thanks to Lisa Gardner and Emily Canders for supplying us with the special character sketch of Flora Dane!

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