Book Review of Alone (D. D. Warren, Bk 1)

Alone (D. D. Warren, Bk 1)
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Are all mystery books this good? Have I really been missing out? Nah, I don't believe it. This isn't a genre I normally read. I stay away from all books by those 'everyone-knows-best-selling-authors' for the most part. (I read them when I was younger, got bored with them, etc.)
So, I won 'Live to Tell' from FirstReads and was flabbergasted by how well it was written. The suspense, the characters, the whole nine, I had found a new author. (As if that was needed.) Soooo, I went ahead and started getting the previous books in the series before 'Save Me (Detective D.D. Warren, #5)' hit the shelves. Then time got in the way, blah, blah, blah and I'm just now getting to them. (I read 'Live to Tell', the 4th book in the D.D. Warren series first, a few months before it came out.)
I wasn't even worried that the first books wouldn't grab me. 'Live to Tell' took such a hold that I just knew her writing would probably always pull me in.
And this was no different. I don't remember many books, if any, where the suspense literally makes my heart beat faster. Lots of books claim it but hardly any deliver IMO. Well, this one delivers and more.
'Alone' is much more about Officer Bobby Dodge than D.D. but it doesn't even matter. D.D. shows up for a few small parts and I'm not sure how she's going to tie in because in the 4th she was the main character.
Catherine's character - I don't even know what to say. The only other character I could think of that comes to mind when I think of Catherine is Lisette in Dwayne S. Joseph's 'Home Wrecker' and 'Eye For An Eye' books. (If anyone has read either/both they'll immediately know how potent Catherine is.
I kept finding myself wondering how in the hell Gardner came up with this. Not so much the characters although that would certainly be one of my questions to her but how she came up with the plot. Honestly there are still a few small things I'm confused about. (This isn't the books fault, in any way, shape, or form. If it can be blamed on anything it's my memory or lack thereof.)
I'd love a glimpse into the mind that can come up with something like this. Going to start the second now assuming I got the correct books which I'm not starting to doubt.