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Lisa Gardner

#1 New York Times-bestselling crime thriller novelist

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  • About Lisa Gardner

    Hailed as “one of the best-known names in all of thrillerdom,” Lisa Gardner has an undeniable talent for creating irresistible page-turners. With over 22 million books in print in 30 countries, her compelling suspense novels captivate audiences all over the world. Gardner, who began her career as a research analyst, combines her passion for investigation with her fascination for police procedure, forensic analysis and gripping plots to create novels like The Neighbor, Right Behind You, Find Her, and many more.

    A self-described “research junkie,” Gardner has worked alongside FBI profilers, visited multiple maximum security prisons, and interviewed a wide variety of law enforcement experts. She also attended the Writers’ Police Academy multiple times, where she learned hands-on techniques from homicide detectives, SWAT team snipers, search dog handlers, and emergency responders. In August 2019, the New York Times book review carried an essay written by Lisa about her time at the legendary Body Farm, and how the right research produces the best thriller.  With so much real-world experience under her belt–not to mention the number of eye-raising anecdotes, Gardner can conduct both practical workshops and highly entertaining speeches on what it takes to become a successful writer.

    Gardner has appeared on TruTV and CNN, and four of her books have been adapted for the small screen (At the Midnight Hour, The Perfect Husband, The Survivors Club, and Hide). Her novel, The Neighbor, was recognized as the “Best Hardcover Novel” by the International Thriller Writers in the United States and received the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France. In 2000, Gardner received the Daphne du Maurier Award for The Other Daughter. She also received the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers in 2017 for her work on behalf of at-risk children and the Humane Society. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her family.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Path to the Bestseller List

    In this candid talk, Lisa Gardner shares her journey to becoming a bestselling author, beginning with her first publication through finding inspiration for her latest novel. Gardner gives an exclusive look into her writing process, from interviewing experts for firsthand accounts to developing diabolical characters and twisting plot lines.

    One Hour Workshops

    Lisa Gardner offers one-hour workshops for aspiring authors seeking to hone their writing process, character development, plotting, research skills, and more. Workshops include:

    • Top Tips for Writing Success: Join Lisa Gardner for an in-depth look at the creative process and to learn a few simple steps that will improve any writer’s daily productivity.
    • Plotting the Novel: Using techniques from screenwriting, Lisa Gardner breaks down the basic components of book structure to show writers how to grab a reader’s attention from the first page and hold it until the last.
    • How to Hit the Times List in Five Years or Less: Gardner gives a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making the New York Times list—and how authors can start building their careers today.
    • Character Development: In this in-depth workshop. Gardner teaches writers how to leap beyond mundane character sketches to flesh and blood realism, from creating hard-boiled detectives to diabolical prima donnas.
    • Successful Rewriting: Join Lisa Gardner for her renowned “book doctor” exercise that helped her elevate the first draft of The Perfect Husband from a mid-list title to a breakout debut novel.
  • Video

  • Praise for Lisa Gardner

    Praise for Before She Disappeared

    This book, the best-selling author’s first stand-alone novel in 20-years, is a sharply-written, tension-filled yarn full of twists readers are unlikely to see coming. The most compelling element, however, is the character of Frankie, a recovering alcoholic whose obsession with the missing is a penance of sorts for the burden of guilt and grief she carries over a past trauma that took the life of a man she loves.

    Associated Press

    A masterpiece of post-modern noir….A riveting stunner of a tale where the rare appearance of the sun shines down on what is certain to be one of the best thrillers of 2021.

    Providence Journal

    [An] outstanding crime novel…. Gardner pulls no punches in this socially conscious standalone.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Fans of this incredible author, police procedurals, timely immigrant stories, strong determined women, and tales that are not tied up with a pretty bow at the end will not be able to get enough of this intense page-turner.

    Library Journal (starred review)

    It’s hard to tag just one stand-out element here, between the multidimensional portrayal of Mattapan’s Haitian expat community, Frankie’s humanizing demons and straightforward investigative technique, and a page-turning plot with all its ends tucked in unpredictably tight. Tense and immersive, Gardner’s latest…is a sure bet both for readers drawn to gritty gumshoe fiction and for the growing legion of true- crime podcast fans.

    Booklist (starred review)

    The pace of Before She Disappeared makes it a faster read than the number of pages would suggest. For me, it fell into ‘couldn’t put it down’ territory, and of all Gardner’s books that I’ve read, I think this was the best.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Before She Disappeared introduces what may be the most powerful sleuth of the decade, an “ordinary” woman driven to uncover the truth at any personal cost. There’s only one thing to ask for by the time the book ends: please, please, a sequel and a series.

    New York Journal of Books

    As Frankie’s investigation progresses, it offers an up-close look into some of the issues that plague American society today—racism, antipathy toward immigrants and the trafficking of young women—while providing a blistering narrative and sympathetic characters…Before She Disappeared is billed as a standalone, but I’m thinking it would be the perfect setup for a terrific series.

    Bookpage

    Smart, suspenseful, and socially conscious, this novel knows how to concoct a thriller out of current affairs without cheapening the subject or deriding any of the people involved. Frankie is a troubled, complicated woman determined to do the right thing while also recognizing that she doesn’t have all the answers and is in no place to dictate the affairs of others. She’s a wonderful heroine for our turbulent times.

    Criminal Element

    Think Jack Reacher with a specific mission and a driving purpose…Socially conscious and deeply researched…this thriller will keep devoted thriller and suspense readers on their toes. Plus, Gardner knows how to write honest, believable female leads.

    BookTrib

    Before She Disappeared is a first-class crime novel by a master of the thriller genre. I highly recommend it.

    David Baldacci

    To read Lisa Gardner is to put yourself in the hands of a master storyteller. In Before She Disappeared, she gives us a crackling mystery, gritty atmosphere and an unforgettable heroine. I loved the damaged, determined Frankie Elkin. You will, too.

    Riley Sager, bestselling author of Home Before Dark

    Before She Disappeared has a gutsy heroine, a timely, fascinating storyline, and a real sense of anticipation that kept me turning the pages.

    Tami Hoag

    This time Gardner truly hits it out of the park. Frankie Elkins is a heroine for the ages.

    Tess Gerritsen

    Nuanced and complex, Before She Disappeared proves once more Lisa Gardner knows how to set a hook better than anyone. It’s a ‘just one more chapter’ thriller that will have you reading into the night. I loved it.”

    Gregg Olsen, bestselling author of Water’s Edge

    An exceptional amateur sleuth thriller…a very recommendable read.

    Mystery and Suspense

    The case is intriguing and travels in refreshingly unexpected directions. . . . You’re highly likely to enjoy this.

    The Booklist Queen

    Fascinating . . . A page-turner about the search for a missing teenage girl in Boston and the mysterious woman obsessed with finding her.

    The Big Thrill

    Hang on to some of the best moments in story telling by the master herself Lisa Gardner. Before She Disappeared may just be one of her best . . . and that is saying a lot.

    Fresh Fiction

    Praise for Look For Me

    Terror, twists, and trepidation. Look for Me is a triple-salvo thriller.

    Kathy Reichs, bestselling author of Two Nights and the Temperance Brennan series

    A complex crime scene, a missing girl, a ticking clock: no one writes a more page-turning, gut-wrenching thriller.

    Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of I Know a Secret

    Master storyteller Gardner does an outstanding job delicately building the evolving relationship between these two damaged but strong women. . . . As always, the plot is intricate and intense.

    RT Book Reviews

    The twists and turns in this gripping D.D. Warren adventure will keep readers turning the pages.

    Library Journal

    Gardner shines a heartbreaking light on foster care abuse while steadily ratcheting up the tension to a genuinely surprising and emotional finale.

    Publishers Weekly

    Suspenseful and wholly believable, this ninth entry will win new fans for the series, especially among those who favor Karin Slaughter’s gritty procedurals.

    Booklist (starred review)

    Praise for Right Behind You

    A long-awaited delight…and a thrilling escape.

    Booklist

    Devilishly clever twists propel Gardner’s tale.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Right Behind You…solidifies [Lisa Gardner’s] claim as the queen of psychological suspense.

    Providence Journal

    “Gardner knows how to get the reader emotionally hooked into the story, and the police procedure elements of the novel shine…Gardner still knows how to surprise and tantalize. She’s a master of the psychological thriller, so don’t leave this one behind.

    Associated Press

    Praise for Find Her

    A psychological thriller both chilling and emotional. Her narrative thrums with heart-pounding scenes and unexpected twists that have you furiously flipping pages.

    USA Today’s Happy Ever After

    You’ll read Find Her for its adrenaline-charged plot. You’ll remember it for its insights into trauma and forgiveness.

    Oprah.com

    Lisa Gardner is the master of the psychological thriller….The world of the FBI, the terror of abduction, and victim advocates blend into this tense…thriller.

    Associated Press

    Lisa Gardner is one of my favorite authors. Her fast-paced and exciting novels twist when you expect a turn and turn when you expect a twist. I cannot recommend her more.

    Karin Slaughter

    For years Lisa Gardner has been one of the best in the thriller business, but Find Her is something new: taut psychological suspense, an intricate mystery, emotionally devastating, ultimately empowering—a novel that should not be missed.

    Harlan Coben

    Praise for 3 Truths and a Lie

    Nerve-shattering suspense.

    Tami Hoag

    No one owns this corner of the genre the way Lisa Gardner does.

    Lee Child
  • Books by Lisa Gardner

  • Media About Lisa Gardner

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  • Lisa Gardner travels from New Hampshire

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