One Step Too Far: A Novel (A Frankie Elkin Novel) - book cover
Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher : Dutton
  • Published : 18 Jan 2022
  • Pages : 416
  • ISBN-10 : 0593185412
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593185414
  • Language : English

One Step Too Far: A Novel (A Frankie Elkin Novel)

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 further.
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…

Editorial Reviews

Praise for One Step Too Far

"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 (starred review)

"Gardner's latest series continues to excel; instinctual, tragedy-driven Frankie is one of crime fiction's most intriguing new sleuths."
-Booklist (starred review)

"The appeal of Lisa Gardner's second Frankie Elkin mystery lies mainly with the meticulously researched science and lore on surviving in the wilderness - and with the endearingly strange Frankie herself."
-The Washington Post

"Gardner's gripping sequel to 2021's Before She Disappeared...winds toward a surprising conclusion."
-Publishers Weekly

"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

"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."
-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

"Propulsive, adrenaline-fueled, terrifyingly real."
-Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author of Hostage

"And Then There Were None meets Deliverance. Gardner's latest will have you flipping pages at breakneck speed, guessing, and gasping."
-Linwood Barclay, author of Find You First

Readers Top Reviews

Mara ABook LoverKind
I adored this book ! I love Frankie and whatever drives her. I was trying so hard to take my time but about halfway through I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The suspense ratchets and the mystery continues. In usual form, just when you think there's nothing more comes the twist. If I could I'd give it 10 stars. Nothing but love for this one !!
This is one of those books you just can't put down. Frankie has a free spirit and a purpose that life chose for her. Struggles, hardships, outside of her comfort zone. She persevere s and struggles, she keeps on going when she should give in. Well written with great characters, surprise at almost every page turn. I was sad when I finished and simply cannot wait to read the next book in this series.
Ms. gardener has done it again. What a fabulous story. I'm so incredibly proud of myself for figuring out who the evil one's were. I could not put the book down and want the next book right now. Thank you for writing this thrilling story. Bravo!
Lisa G. once again kept my interest and entertained me. Search and Rescue and wilderness search is an area left untapped in many novels. I was once told, you learn something new with every book read. I expanded my knowledge immensely concerning searching and wilderness rescue PS, I did not figure out the Evildoers until the very end.
I start bachelor parties thinking the same way, 5 guys start out, how many will return? It was great being able to put a face to Frankie's good name (Hillary Swank!). Love the imperfect Frankie character, going from alcoholism to cold case workaholic. Will keep this book in mind when on my personal trail of tears/death marches.

Short Excerpt Teaser

Chapter 1

The first three men came stumbling into town shortly after ten a.m., babbling of dark shapes and eerie screams and their missing buddy Scott and their other buddy Tim, who set out from their campsite before dawn to get help.

"Bear, bear, bear," first guy moaned.

"Mountain lion!" second guy insisted.

Third guy vomited.

Maybe, maybe not, Marge Santi thought as she sidestepped the spew of liquid. Marge situated the young men in a corner booth of her diner, then got on the phone and summoned Nemeth. To be polite, Marge also contacted Sheriff Jim Kelley, likeable guy, respected by the locals, but an officer with a whole county to tend and the drive to prove it. For immediate action, Nemeth it was.

Nemeth, former Shoshone National Forest district ranger, now local guide, knew what he was doing. First, he plied the three men with coffee. To judge by the rank odor of fear and booze leaking out of their pores, they didn't need anything else. Two cups later, he had most of the story.

Five guys set out into the woods for a bachelor party weekend. All friends since college, all with some experience camping, though the trio agreed future groom Tim was The Man. Had been backcountry hiking with his father since he was six. He was the reason they were camping. The other four wouldn't have minded a golf weekend or quality time at a casino/resort. But for Tim, the woods were his happy place, so into the mountains they'd gone. Fully equipped, packs, tents, sleeping bags, two-burner propane camp stove, cans of beans and franks, and yeah, as much beer and Maker's Mark as five fit young men could carry. Which was to say, a lot. But they weren't total idiots. Again, Tim knew his shit and oversaw their packing himself.

They'd hiked in seven miles yesterday, looking for the perfect camping spot in one of the deep canyons, near a broad river. Once they found it, they unloaded packs, pitched tents, and popped open the first six-pack, leaving the other four to chill in the ice-cold water.

Dusk came fast this time of year. But all was good. They built up a fire, roasted hot dogs, and ate baked beans straight out of the can. Many fart jokes ensued.

More beer, followed by whiskey chasers. How much booze can five young healthy men drink? Plenty. But no place to be, no cars to drive, no nagging cell phones to answer given the lack of reception.

Just them and the starlit sky. They killed off the first bottle of Maker's Mark, started in on the second. Tim sat next to the fire and scratched away on a piece of paper. Working on his wedding vows, writing a letter to his beloved? They teased, but he refused to fess up.

Hour grew late. How late, no one knew and it hardly mattered. They finally turned in for the night, two men each in two tents, Tim, the future groom, in a single shell all by himself. One of his last nights on earth sleeping alone. Should enjoy it while he could, they teased.

Then . . .

A sharp keening wail. Crashing in the trees around them.

"Grizzly," Neil said now, sitting in the diner.

"Mountain lion," Josh insisted.

Miggy, short for Miguel, crawled out of the booth and vomited some more.

Maybe, maybe not, Nemeth thought. Marge got a mop.

At the camp, the men had burst from their tents, flashlights bobbing, nerves strung tight, trying to pinpoint the source of the disturbance. Build up the fire, Tim demanded. Make noise of their own. Double-check the food stash they'd strung up in the trees away from their campsite.

Which is why it took a few minutes, maybe as long as five or ten, before they realized their party of five had become four. Where the hell was Scott?

Miggy had been sharing his tent and Miggy had no idea.

"No . . . fucking idea," Miggy clarified for Nemeth, in between bouts of dry heaving.

Tim, future groom, got serious. Scott could've wandered off to pee. Scott could've just plain wandered off, drunk and disoriented. But given the cold temps, dangerous terrain, and carnivorous local wildlife, they needed to find him.

Arranging their group into two pairs, Tim directed the first duo to start searching north of the campfire, while the other would cover the woods to the south. Whoever found Scott first would blow their emergency signal whistle.

Except they didn't find him. Up and down the water, bushwhacking deeper and deeper into the forest. No Scott. But they did find trampled b...