Expire – Danielle Girard


I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

At the close of the last book of the series, San Francisco Medical Examiner, Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman was drugged and tossed into the back of a non-descript white van, while rendering aid to her neighbor.

Now, she’s awake and has found herself tethered by a plastic collar and chain in a home that appears to be in a remote location. Although she has long escaped an abusive marriage and gone forward with her life, she has always known that she would encounter her ex-husband again, and presumes he is the one who has taken her.

Hal Harris, San Francisco homicide cop and Anna’s lover meanwhile, is searching frantically. He too believes that Spencer is responsible for Anna’s kidnapping – but how can he be, when he’s hundreds of miles away, and meeting with his clients daily?

As Anna explores her prison, hoping to find some way out of her predicament, Spencer is plotting. His ultimate plan is so smuggle Anna out of the country, to a remote land where she’ll be forced to live as his wife…and prisoner.

The story progresses from each character’s viewpoints, as we watch Anna explore her situation, and we watch Hal as he attempts to hide his frustration at the roadblocks in his way. We watch Anna’s mother, as she slowly comes to realize that Spencer isn’t the ‘wonderful’ son-in-law she has always thought him to be, and we see her become an unlikely hero in the search for her daughter. And we see Anna, fierce in her desire to protect a secret, and to find her way back to Hal.

Even though we know, logically, that Anna should persevere, as she is at the center of this series, it’s hard not to lose hope, as the clock ticks and the past moves ever closer…

I found this novel quite suspenseful and found myself on the edge of my seat numerous times as I cheered with and feared for Anna & Hal. While certainly enjoyable as a standalone (and maybe the outcome is less certain to those who don’t know the characters) I highly recommend reading in the series order! Outstanding!!