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After I'm Gone
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2014
I'm a long time Laura Lippman fan. My favourites are the Tess Monaghan novels, but Lippman's last few books have been stand alones. The latest is After I'm Gone.

Sandy is a retired Baltimore cop, currently on contract with the BPD as a consultant, handling cold cases. When searching his files for the next case to handle, a picture of dancer Juliet Romeo falls out. and the next case is chosen.

Juliet was the girlfriend of Felix Brewer in 1976. She was found dead ten years later and her murder was never solved. Felix also had a wife named Bambi and three daughters. When the feds decided Felix was going to prison for fraud, he decided he couldn't do the time - and disappeared. He left behind the two women and three girls, all who never knew where he went or what happened to him. Twenty six years later Sandy re-opens the case.

Lippman's story flips from past to present and from the viewpoint of each of the women throughout the years. We're there at the beginning, meet the girls as they have grown, the women as they have aged and are with Sandy every step of the way as he explores the present, trying to find answers in the past. Although no one is very forthcoming.

Lippman has created a rich story. The characters are very real, their emotions and actions tangible. Although I wondered 'whodunit', I was just as intrigued by the lives of these women and how Felix, even when absent, affected each of their paths. The secrets, lies, loves and hopes of each character was very well portrayed and explored. But the character I enjoyed the most by far was Sandy. He too has a rich back story that fleshed out his character. He's not a super sleuth solving everything with clever (and impossible) deductions, but is instead a very human, fallible man determined to find answers. I liked his voice and his way of thinking.

I was pretty sure where the story was headed (and was quite happy about the journey there) when Lippman threw in one last twist, just to keep readers on their toes. Lippman herself lives in the Baltimore area which adds greatly to her settings and descriptions.

When I finished the last pages of the book, I stopped and wondered about someone 'disappearing'. Is it possible? Are they ever successful at staying gone? And then I read the author's notes and discovered that the novel uses the true case of Julius Salsbury as inspiration.

Devoted Laura Lippman fans will enjoy Crow's cameo (and Tess's too). By the final pages, I was thinking to myself that Sandy is a character I'd like to see more of. I may just get my wish - Lippman's next book, Hush, is due out in February 2015.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Thank you to the author and publisher for the beautiful advanced reading copy.

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 always legal businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.

I’ve been a bit of a fan of Laura Lippman’s novels for a while – they are quietly atmospheric and always beautifully constructed with wonderful storytelling and characters and this was no exception.

When Felix skips bail to avoid a prison sentence, he leaves behind his wife, three daughters and a mistress – when ten years later his mistress also disappears it is assumed that she has gone to be with Felix but then her body is discovered..

Told in present time as a cold case specialist tries to solve the murder, and in flashback showing how Bambi and her daughters have coped, this is compelling stuff. There is a mystery at the heart of it but this is purely about the people – Felix leaves a lot of emotion and anger in his wake, this novel explores the themes of loss, guilt, rejection and love in an evocative and heartfelt manner.

From the seemingly pragmatic Bambi who hides a maelstrom of emotion beneath her tough exterior, down to youngest child Michelle, selfish and demanding, the Brewer girls are formidable indeed and yet vulnerable in many ways. As the story twists and turns – just where did Felix go and more importantly where did his money go – you will be utterly immersed into the multi-stranded family drama. Mistress Julia is also beautifully drawn and fascinating, the mystery surrounding her disappearance and murder only deepens as time goes on. It is a page turner, addictive and real, and bang in the middle of it is a man you know very little about. Felix Brewster.

Appealing and captivating this is perhaps my favourite of Ms Lippmans novels so far.

Happy Reading Folks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another excellent, stimulating, captivating read from Laura Lippman.
When I pick up one of her books I am sure to love it. And I did.

I sometimes have trouble following up to the present storylines then whooop to flashbacks! But the author has tied it in like a puzzle, all the pieces fit. I didn't slow my pace of reading down one bit, so this to me is a good thing. It means I followed it from cover to cover despite the flashbacks to the past.

I think the blurb gives you most of the information of what this book is about so I won't divulge anymore, except to say, if you love a good mystery/thriller, then don't miss out on this one.

I received my copy from Faber and Faber Ltd via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
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on 22 April 2015
Felix Brewer is bound to go to prison but smartly does a runner, leaving his wife and
kids and a mistress behind.
The mistress, Julie Saxony, disappears years later, and everyone assumes she's gone
to join Felix Brewer.
Wrong.
Her body turns up in a forest 26 years later.
Such intrigue is interspersed with the lives of the women left behind, and how they are
affected by the missing Felix.
Add to that Sandy Sanchez, a retired detective, attempting to unravel this cold case
mystery, and you have the wealth of a very satisfying read.

For me, personally, I could have done with more of the detective and less of the ladies'
history, but I'm knit-picking, so go out and get this book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
After I’M Gone – top mystery

After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman is a beautifully well written murder mystery an old style whodunit that keeps you turning the pages to find out who the culprit is. This is a classic murder mystery story that is brought up to date by a modern day Agatha Christie where the disappearance of Felix Brewster echoes throughout the book while giving no hint as to where he is or if he is alive.

Felix Brewster is charmer of the old school easily referred to as a lady’s man who married the love of his life in 1959 Bambi Gottschalk. A wife that bears him three daughters and who has it all, a woman he loves with all his heart and would never leave, while at the same time having a mistress a former stripper called Julie. 4th July 1976 while awaiting sentence in federal court, Julie helps Felix to disappear never to be seen or heard of again. Bambi is left with three daughters a big house and no money but there is one person who might know and that is Julie. In 1986 to the day of Felix’s disappearance Julie disappears in to the ether and everyone assumes she has gone to join Felix that is until her body turns up decomposed in a secluded wood.

Sandy Sanchez is a retired homicide detective who works cold cases for the Baltimore Police when he picks up this case and decides to run with it. What he discovers is a tangled web of secrets and lies from the past that dictate the past with the present and he recognises the truth will be explosive. This is an old fashioned mix of jealousy, bitterness, resentment and greed that connects all the women in the book. It falls to Sanchez to unpick this to discover the truth and that would not be easy.

Laura Lippman has written a book that delivers on all levels so that you get the suspense recognise the failings of all the characters to whom it is easy to identify and deliver the final punch with a smile. It is easy to see why Lippman tops the bestseller lists in America and with this book she should do the same here her books are readable enjoyable crime fiction.
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on 30 April 2015
An excellent well written book with a good plot which kept the reader on edge till almost the end
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on 7 June 2015
A good read which was a notch up from from the usual page-turner
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on 5 February 2015
first class in every respect
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on 30 April 2015
A good read.
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on 4 August 2015
good book
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