Wednesday, December 17, 2014

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman [Review]

After I'm Gone4 out of 5 Robots!

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
Genre: Mystery/Crime
Release: February 11, 2014
Hardcover:  352 Pages
Publisher: William Morrow
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous ThingI'd Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know returns with an addictive story that explores how one man's disappearance echoes through the lives of the five women he left behind—his wife, his daughters, and his mistress

Dead is dead. Missing is gone.

When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's Day dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July in 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when Felix, facing prison, vanishes.

Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day after Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she's left to join her old lover—until her remains are discovered in a secluded park.

Now, twenty-six years later, Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over five decades. And at its center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic Felix Brewer.

Felix Brewer left five women behind. Now there are four. Does at least one of them know the truth?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Based on the description of this book, I was expecting a heavy focus on the mystery of Julie's death.  But that isn't really what I got.  Julie's death actually takes a backseat to everything else until the very end.  Instead, the story meanders between the past and present in little vignettes of lives of Bambi, her three daughters and Julie.  The only time the story focuses on the mystery is when Sandy is poking into Julie's cold case.

But even if this wasn't the mystery I was expecting, I did find this book compelling.  Felix is missing throughout most of the story, but he looms large in everyone else's lives.  He is very much a secondary character whose actions created ripple effects felt for years after his disappearance.  My only complaint is that it was a little hard to keep all the timelines straight in my head.  Be sure to pay attention otherwise you will probably be a little lost!

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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