Book Report: Lisa Gardner ‘In Her Name’ (DD Warren 6)
In her name is the sixth part of the series with DD Warren in the lead role of the American thriller writer, Lisa Gardner. Sergeant DD Warren has just returned from maternity leave and is the first case to be murdered by a pedophile. At the crime scene, she meets Charlene Grant, who is convinced that she will be murdered in a few days, more precisely on January 21. Like her two best friends in the previous two years on the same day, she becomes the next victim. There is a problem, she does not know at all by whom or why. Although DD has her doubts about that.
- Main characters
- Symbols and motifs
- Structure and perspective / way of telling
- Time and place
- Original title: Catch me
- Dutch title: In her name
- Author: Lisa Gardner
- Series: DD Warren (6)
- First print: 2012
- First edition translated into Dutch: 2014
- Translation: Els Franci-Ekeler
- Number of pages: 458
- ISBN: 978-90,234-9129-3
Sergeant DD Warren has a dead husband as the first major case after her maternity leave. It appears that the man, who turns out to be a pedophile, was executed a few days ago. Her team members Neil and Phil tell her he’s not the first. During her maternity leave, a dangerous sex offender had been shot dead in his apartment. Together they go in search of the perpetrator of the murder and already know that it will not be an easy matter.
Two years ago on January 21, Charlene Grant’s girlfriend Randi was murdered. Her other friend Jackie was found strangled on January 21 last year. Charlene is now convinced that she will be next and that is in a few days. Charlene had read positive things about DD that made her visit her in the hope that DD can help her avoid being killed. DD lets Charlene tell her story, but she does not immediately understand what Charlene expects from her, because as long as nothing has happened, DD cannot take action. Charlene had not been threatened, followed or stalked, so she couldn’t help her.
When Ellen O. asks to cooperate in the murder, DD is not immediately motivated to agree. But she soon realizes that Ellen has a lot of knowledge about how pedophiles think and approach things. And when Ellen also makes the link between the first case and the second case via a note that DD found under her windshield wiper, she is completely convinced. Photos of the first victim showed the contents of his pockets. Just like the note that DD found at the crime scene, it reads: “Everyone dies in the end, be brave.” DD had already had her note analyzed and concluded that the text was written by a perfectionist woman.
Charlene had bonded with a boy through her job at the police station whose father drinks way too much and terrorized his family. She decides to help them by giving the mother and the two children a new identity. To prevent the father from looking for them, she kills him, because she has nothing to lose, she would soon die anyway.
She is preparing for the tough fight the day she will meet her killer. Meanwhile, DD is devising a plan to avoid killing Charlene. She wants to create a Facebook page where she will post information about the murders of Charlene’s friends and honor them. She wants to scare the perpetrator by making some mistakes and criticizing the way the murders happened.
Charlene is informed by DD and Ellen O. what they are up to and that they are convinced there must be a fourth girl who would have liked to join their group of friends. And who is still angry because she is not allowed. So they go off to the girls that the three girls had separate contact with. Eventually she comes to twelve girls. But neither the Facebook page nor the list of girls yields much.
Jesse likes to play online games where he meets other children. For example, he meets up with Pinky Poo in the library. He manages to get his mother to go to the library with a little lie. They go their separate ways in the library. Pinky Poo is a teenager who explains that he sometimes uses his sister’s account. Together they play for a while Barry, which is the real name of Pinky Poo, reports that he has to run away. Jesse is left somewhat confused, leading Barry to suggest that he can smoke a cigarette and show some more tricks on his phone. Jesse goes along and soon discovers that it was a wrong decision. He is alone in an alley with Barry and no longer feels safe.
At the same time, a woman arrives and tells Barry that she knows what he’s up to and that she has followed him on the chat. Then she shoots him and introduces herself to fearful Jesse as Abigail. DD and O. are both called to the crime scene, where they hear Jesse’s story and feel that Charlene could be behind it, among other things because of Jesse’s description of the woman.
The day before the twenty-first, Charlene receives an unexpected visit from her aunt. She is given the opportunity to ask what exactly happened to her mother and finds out when she learns that her mother is still alive. She tries to remember things about the night she was eight, but she only remembers a baby who cried. Expanding on it, Charlene recalls a dead baby. Suddenly it comes back that she also had a brother and a sister. But she still does not know what exactly happened and especially what she did or did not do then.
After talking to Jesse, O. wants to get into action as soon as possible before Charlene runs off. DD would like to believe O., but she knows there is nothing they can do without proof. DD decides to question Charlene and confront her about what they found about her. For example, there is her family’s file. Her mother had killed two babies, Rosalind and Carter. There was a chance that other children had died, including Abigail. But no one knew how many children were effective. Meanwhile, DD and O. had discovered that their mother had died. For Charlene, it’s all new information as she claims she doesn’t remember anything about her childhood, which makes the two detectives suspicious.
The ballistic investigation confirms what O. had said for a while, Abigail the woman who saved little Jesse is Charlene. She was behind the pedophile murders. A friend of Charlene’s, who works for the police, informs her that she is being wanted. But they both discover that she is being tricked in some way because she has a rosewood butt, while the weapon the police investigated has a rubber handle to avoid being found, she is taken to a safe place. But she knows she has to pay attention because it’s January 21.
She calls DD to convince her of her innocence and explains her theory. Charlene is convinced that O. wants to get her into trouble. During the conversation DD looks at her notes and suddenly all the pieces of the puzzle fall together. O. might be the presumed dead sister Abigail. Charlene ponders the conversation. She had always been convinced that like her mother, toddler Abigail had been dead; But suppose O. was actually her sister, targeting people she loved, her aunt might be the next victim.
During their investigation, DD and her team discovered that O. had January 21 off two years in a row, confirming their suspicion. DD knows it’s going to be a race against time to stop O. from finding her sister faster and killing her.
It’s Charlene who finds Abigail and her aunt. Abigail still doesn’t understand why Charlene can’t remember anything about that night. Their mother, who had Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, wanted to set them on fire along with the house, but Charlene had responded by trying to knock their mother down. But then she was eventually stabbed, which made Abigail think Charlene was dead. When Abigail blames her for not coming to find her to rescue her from their mother’s hands, their aunt admits that Charlene didn’t know anything. She had been informed and wanted to intervene. But their mother had made her an offer, no police and she could keep Charlene. So she sacrificed one sister to save the other. Abigail immediately shoots their aunt, in response to this, Charlene starts fighting her sister. DD and her team arrive just in time to stop Abigail from killing Charlene, but fail to stop Abigail from committing suicide.
DD finds in Abigail’s room all the evidence she needs for the murders of Charlene’s girlfriends as well as the pedophiles. But she is convinced that Charlene has something up her sleeve too. When she discovers that Charlene is behind the death of the bully who terrorized his family, she writes her a note to show that she knows, but is not going to do anything about it for now. Charlene had buried her sister with her other siblings and her aunt had survived the shooting and DD takes the next step in her future, getting engaged to Alex.
She’s a sergeant who is a workaholic. She recently had a child, Jack, with Alex.
Jack’s father is a crime scene expert and teacher at the police academy.
She is twenty-eight years old. She never saw her father and her mother abused her, so she was taken care of and raised by her aunt in a small town where she met her friends Randi and Jackie at school. She works in the police control room, where she does not do everything according to the rules.
He is seven years old and lives with his mother.
Symbols and motifs
DD had unexpectedly become pregnant at the age of 40, forcing her to change her lifestyle. For example, she lives with Alex to raise their son together.
Just as Charlene had never told her friends about how she had been abused by her mother, they had secrets from her too. For example, she discovered after their death that Randi was being abused by her husband and Jackie was a lesbian.
If you keep looking at the past, you will miss the future.
Structure and perspective / way of telling
The book consists of 458 pages, which are divided over a prologue and 44 chapters. The story provides the point of view of Abby, DD Warren and Jesse, which is written in third person and Charlene and Abigial which is written in I person.
Time and place
The story is set in the present day in Boston.
In her name starts with a fierce prologue, which immediately sets the tone and ensures that you as a reader want to know what is going to happen. Lisa Gardner uses two topics in this story that cannot be called lighthearted: pedophilia and child abuse, which makes it unpleasant to read. The Münchhausen by Proxy syndrome is also discussed, which is a form of child abuse in which an adult fakes, aggravates or even causes a disease or disorder in their child, purely for attention.
Outside of DD Warren’s character, who has been around for a while, the other characters have been described quite superficially, which is most likely intended. The story consists of multiple storylines, which ensures that the story remains engaging and does not slow down your reading pace. Step by step you will gain insight into the gruesome truth. With In Her Name, Lisa Gardner has delivered a psychological thriller about a young woman determined to fight her unknown killer.