Book: The 4th Man

The 4th Man by Lisa Gardner
Genre: suspense, thriller
Publisher: Dutton
Date: January 3, 2017
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Olmedo
Fiction Addict Scorecard: B

Five years ago, the strangulation of a young woman in the library stairwell rocked a college community. With no physical evidence, no signs of sexual assault, or witnesses, the police had to release the three men who were with her in the building — her boyfriend and two campus security guards.

Ex-FBI profile Pierce Quincy and his wife, former police officer Rainie Conner agree to help D.D. Warren look into the cold case. With only a dead girl and missing shoes to go off of, figuring out if the killer is one of their three suspects or a fourth they haven’t considered will prove to be only the beginning.

Lisa Gardner’s The 4th Man presents a classic locked-room mystery, in which the only thing more surprising than the killer’s identity is the motive. If not for the fact that the author garnered her inspiration from a real-life case, I would have thought the motive unbelievable.

Probably due to its length, this short story didn’t contain the depth found in Gardner’s novels. The characters, even the recurring ones, felt a bit like caricatures. D.D., notorious for her hands-on, dog-with-a-bone approach (the reason we all love her), seemed uncharacteristically detached. In fact, her willingness to simply present the facts to Quincy and Rainie, and let them run with it made me wonder if she had actually solved the case and was testing her friends.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed piecing together the mystery and liked The 4th Man even more than last year’s short story, 3 Truths and a Lie. I recommend it to Gardner’s fans.

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