Romantic Suspense -Book Annotation

26 Mar

Title: The Third Victim

Author: Lisa Gardner

Publication Date: 2001 by Bantam Books

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Number of Pages: 302

What makes this story authentic to the genre is the increasing tension between characters, the mystery driven plot, and the threatened heroine faced with a dilemma concerning the hero. Written during a time when school shootings were growing rampant, this story shows how one tug at a loose thread can cause a once quiet town to unravel in disaster. Beyond a “romance with an element of danger,” this story introduces violence early on. As word spreads about the shooting, the characters are shocked and in fear of the pure evil that would do something like this. The story is unique in that it references real cases and compares story characters to real criminal profiles. Gardner invites the reader into the minds of the investigation team, as they are forced to face their own demons in order to solve the case.

Central character:

  • Officer Lorraine ‘Rainie’ Conner

Other significant characters (as they appear in the story):

  • Sheriff Shep O’Grady (Suspect’s father)
  • Danny O’Grady (Suspect)
  • Sandy O’Grady (Suspect’s mother)
  • Becky O’Grady (Suspect’s younger sister)
  • Abe Sanders (Detective)
  • Pierce Quincy (FBI)
  • the Man (Mysterious character)
  • Alice (Victim)
  • Sally (Victim)
  • Ms. Avalon (Victim)

Geographical Setting: Bakersville, Oregon.

Time Period: Post December 20, 1999 Columbine school shooting.

Plot Summary: The story takes place in year 2000, a time when school shootings started happening across the U.S. In the small, friendly town of Bakersville, Oregon a 3-officer police department is faced with the biggest and most heinous crime it has ever seen. The town Sherriff has to choose sides when he learns that his son is the primary suspect in the case of a school shooting. Rainie, his lead officer, is the first to report to the crime scene but has no experience with such major cases and accidently contaminates most of the evidence. The characters face a great deal of difficulty solving the case because the evidence is destroyed and the eyewitnesses are keeping silent. Discrepancies in the case lead Rainie to believe that Danny, the prime suspect, could be innocent. Rainie finds herself torn between doing her job with integrity and proving her loyalty to the family and boss who gave her everything.

Series: #2 in Gardner’s FBI Profiler series

Subject Headings:

  • Mystery and detective stories
  • School stories


  • Fast Pacing
  • Threatened Heroine
  • Uneasy Mood

Similar Authors and Works:

  • Sandra Brown focuses on strong heroines and heroes, atmosphere, and complex plot, in the novel Ricochet.
  • Kay Hooper focuses on threatened heroines point of view, sense of uneasiness, and a graphically detailed story line, in the novel After Caroline.
  • Lisa Jackson focuses on dysfunctional family, fast pacing, and explicit sexual description, in the novel Running Scared.

-A Teaching Librarian


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: