From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a chilling thriller about a young man gone missing in the wilderness of Wyoming . . . and the secrets uncovered by the desperate effort to find him
Timothy O’Day knew the woods. Yet when he disappeared on the first night of a bachelor party camping trip with his best friends in the world, he didn’t leave a trace. What he did leave behind were two heartbroken parents, a crew of guilt-ridden groomsmen, and a pile of clues that don’t add up.
Frankie Elkin doesn’t know the woods, but she knows how to find people. So when she reads that Timothy’s father is organizing one last search, she heads to Wyoming. Despite the rescue team’s reluctance, she joins them. But as they hike into the mountains, it becomes clear that there’s something dangerous at work in the woods . . . or someone who is willing to do anything to stop them from going any farther.
Running out of time and up against the worst man and nature have to offer, Frankie and the search party will discover what evil awaits those who go one step too far . . .
Bestseller Gardner’s gripping sequel to 2021’s Before She Disappeared takes missing person cold case investigator Frankie Elkin, who describes herself as an “average, middle-aged white woman, short on belongings, long on regret,” to Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest to join a search party for Tim O’Day. Five years earlier, Tim and four of his best friends set out into the woods for a bachelor party weekend; Tim, the future groom, disappeared without a trace. Every year since, Martin, Tim’s father, has organized a search for his son’s remains. This is to be Martin’s last attempt. Frankie insinuates herself into the group, which includes Tim’s four friends from the original trip. One day into their six-day trek, problems arise. From missing provisions and the sense of being watched, things escalate quickly, and the question becomes: who will survive? Fascinating details on cadaver dog training, as well as on camping and tracking in difficult terrain, complement the suspenseful journey as it winds toward a surprising conclusion. Readers will hope to see a lot more of the compassionate Frankie. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Jan.)
– Publishers Weekly
Praise for One Step Too Far
“An authentic Wyoming setting, a tantalizing mystery, and a Labrador named Daisy. What’s not to like?”–C.J. Box, #1 NYT best-selling author of Dark Sky
“In One Step Too Far, master storyteller and avid hiker Lisa Gardner has written the book she was meant to write, an immersive, propulsive, utterly chilling, and yet deeply moving wilderness thriller in which her intimate knowledge of and love for the rugged Wyoming backcountry shines through on every terrifying page. Without a doubt, the best book I’ve read all year. More wilderness thrillers, please!”–Karen Dionne, Author of The Marsh King’s Daughter
“Visceral, unpredictable, and terrifying. You’ll never hike into the woods again without thinking of Lisa Gardner’s One Step too Far.”–Robert Dugoni. #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series
Praise for the Frankie Elkin series
“The prolific Gardner has come up with one of the most original characters in recent crime fiction, a woman readers can care about even while not being entirely sure of what to make of her.”–Washington Post
“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)
– From the Publisher
Gardner’s second novel featuring Frankie Elkin (following Before She Disappeared) is beyond brilliant. This time Frankie is up against a sadistic killer and the remote, rugged Popo Agie Wilderness area in the Wyoming Shoshone National Forest. Five years after a hiker went missing there during his bachelor party/camping trip, eight people search for his remain, including his father; an SAR expert and her dog; a Bigfoot hunter; and a last-minute addition, loner and cold-case-missing-person-finder extraordinaire Frankie, who’s recovering from alcohol addiction. Soon it becomes obvious that someone is sabotaging the group’s mission. Frankie tries to piece together the frustrating puzzle pieces of the case while calculating how much danger the group is in when it’s made clear that the saboteur is out for blood. Gardner’s narrative is a mix of beautiful prose and ingenious, intense, edgy dialogue; her research is meticulous; and it’s amazing how this master storyteller turns Frankie, a broken urbanite, into a wilderness survivalist hero. VERDICT Gardner’s latest is perfect for fans of unputdownable, gritty cat-and-mouse mysteries, compassionate underdog protagonists with self-deprecating senses of humor, ruthless killers, and “didn’t see it coming, OMG” endings.–Debbie Haupt
– Library Journal
Frankie Elkin, a miraculous finder of missing persons, seeks a man who wandered into the wilderness and was never seen again.
Last seen rescuing a missing teenager from the gritty streets of Boston, Frankie embarks from a bus in Ramsey, Wyoming, drawn in by the story of hiker Timothy O’Day, who’s been missing for five years, and the last-gasp efforts of his father, Martin, to search for his remains. Frankie has some regrets about leaving Boston, but she’s called to find those others have given up on. She manages to finagle her way on to the search party, which in addition to Martin includes a local guide; a search-and-rescue dog and her handler; a Bigfoot expert; and Tim’s friends, who were in the woods with him when he went missing. In the years since, they’ve moved on with their lives, but they are carrying guilt and secrets about the night Tim disappeared. As they all head into the unforgiving wilderness, it quickly becomes apparent that someone is deeply threatened by this effort to find Tim’s body. As she endeavors to draw the truth from each member of the search party, Frankie can tell that she’s in over her head, and not only because she’s an inexperienced outdoorswoman. Could Tim still be alive and looking for revenge, or is there a more dangerous secret that someone would kill to protect? Gardner is incredibly skilled at developing tension and suspense; she’s equally skilled at slowly revealing complex characters and their secrets. Both gifts reinforce each other in this novel. If Frankie is out of her element, so are we: It’s not often that a thriller so deeply casts us into the darkness of both nature and the human heart.
Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat–but read it.
– Kirkus Reviews