Friday, April 4, 2014

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: January 2014

When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's 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, 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.

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

Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder.  Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

I thoroughly enjoyed After I'm Gone.  It's the second book I have read by this author and I feel like it is the better of the two I read.  I was engaged throughout the entire story.  I liked how the details of Julie's murder and Felix's vanishing were laid out for the reader.    The pacing for the story was perfect.  The story waffles between events in the past ,told  through the eyes of Bambi,  her family, and Julie, and the present as Sandy tries to solve the cold case of Julie's murder.

After I'm Gone is going to be a hard book to review because I don't want to give away anything important.  The book has quite a few surprises and twists and it kept me guessing right up until the end.  I liked the solution and thought it was perfect for the book.  The ending was a bit bittersweet. 

 I loved the characters.  It was interesting to see how Bambi and each of her children were affected by the disappearance of Felix and Julie's murder.  Because the book shows their lives over a span of 50+ years,  you can really see the changes, and in some cases no changes, in all of them.  Out of everyone, I liked Sandy the best.  He was a very likable detective and I would love to see him in future books.    This is an intriguing mystery and I highly recommend it!

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