After I'm Gone: A Novel by Laura Lippman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from First Reads in exchange for a fair review
On July 4th 1976, Felix Brewer disappeared, leaving behind his wife, Bambi, three daughters and his girlfriend. 10 years later, his girlfriend, Julie Saxony disappears and is found dead over a decade later. Sandy Sanchez is a retired police office who works cold cases on contract, after a photo of Julie Saxony draws him in, Sandy sets out to solve her murder. According to Sandy, the name is always in the file.
The novel examines the evolution of the Brewer families lives before and after Felix. Beginning with Felix and Bambi meeting for the first time 1959 through 2012. Bambi and Julie always believed Felix was still alive, Bambi keeping up appearances and awaiting his return, Julie waiting his call to come and join him. The Brewer daughters, Linda, Rachel and Michelle all have unique perspectives on their father, his life and his disappearance that shape their lives for better and worse and each of their experiences effects the out come of this novel.
Initially, I found this book hard to follow, the way each chapter skipped from decade to decade, but once I figured out the authors flow and got to know the characters better, the leaps in time didn't bother me. However, I did find myself referring to the beginning of chapters occasionally in order to orient myself time wise.
I found the characters to be well developed, complex and believable and enjoyed their perspectives and insight into their situations. The chapters featuring Sandy were some of my favorite and his process of solving Julie Saxony's murder was fascinating, I loved the glimpses back into Felix's life and his friends and acquaintances. And ultimately solving Felix's disappearance.
My only beef with this novel was the conclusion, while it fit and made sense, I found it to be a bit rushed, like the author needed an ending and quickly came up with a killer to throw us off.
This is the second novel I have read by Laura Lippman, I have previously read What the Dead Know and enjoyed that novel as well. I will definitely read more of her work in the future.
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