After I'm Gone: Book summary and reviews of After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

After I'm Gone

by Laura Lippman

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman X
After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2014
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

When Felix Brewer meets 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 his money - might be, she suspects one woman does: his 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.

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. What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Coaxing the inevitable out of the improbable, Lippman is a bet you just can't lose." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Adept as always with character nuance, Lippman (And When She Was Good) uses Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a consultant who used to be a Baltimore cop, to dig into Julie's cold case, and to uncover the secrets of the women Felix left in his wake." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Despite the murder at its center, this is less a suspenseful whodunit than a masterly novel of character, with secrets skillfully and gradually revealed." - Library Journal

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Reader Reviews

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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

After I'm Gone
One disappearance and then another ten years later. Could both these disappearances have been planned far apart so no one would know the real reason?

Felix Brewer disappeared because he wanted to avoid going to jail for his misdeeds. He left his wife and three daughters, but was his wife really surprised he had left? He never really was with her in the first place. He always had a mistress and was rarely home. His mistress, Julie, was his most steady one. To cause more heartache and questions after Julie’s disappearance, Felix's wife wonders if she may have gone with him.

The questions about whether they were together or not surfaced twenty-six years later when they found Julie's body.

AFTER I'M GONE moves from present to past and from character to character. I actually was not swept away as I had been with Ms. Lippman's other books until the ending pages.

It was very confusing even when I was three quarters of the way into the book. I had trouble following the storyline. The detective, Sandy, made the book for me.

I had to keep reading, though, just to see if they found out where Felix was and who had killed Julie.

I am not going to say I disliked this book, but it just didn't grab me, didn’t pull me back to reading, or have me thinking about the characters or story when I wasn't reading. AFTER I'M GONE definitely has a character-driven storyline even though they were not likeable. Most of them were only worried about themselves.

Ms. Lippman may have been trying something different with this book, but I have to say I was disappointed until the end. Whenever I hear Laura Lippman, I normally know I am in for a real treat. The treat was late in coming as it came toward the end of the book as Sandy was wrapping up the investigation. AFTER I'M GONE actually got quite good at this point, and the outcome of “who done it” was very clever.

As I turned the ending pages, I said: "I know this person did it," and then I said: "no that person did," but I was wrong. When you find out who really “did it,” you will love it.

My rating originally was going to be a 3/5, but the sensational, clever ending that kept me guessing is going to move it up to a 4/5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Author Information

Laura Lippman Author Biography

Jim Burger

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working full-time and published seven books about "accidental PI" Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. 

Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards.

She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor's Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association. Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade.

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