‘After I’m Gone’ is much more about the characters surrounding a mystery than about the mystery itself.
Felix Brewer met Bambi when she was 19, and they married not long after. While Felix was not always faithful, he did always love her, and together they had three daughters.
But the luxurious life that the Brewers led was funded by Felix’s shady gambling business. And, when the authorities finally catch up with him, not even Bert, the best criminal lawyer in the business, can save Felix from a prison sentence. Rather than face prison, Felix leaves town and goes into hiding. He leaves behind money and a business for his mistress Julie, but nothing for his beloved wife and daughters.
Bambi, Linda, Rachel and Michelle struggle along without Felix. Then ten years after his disappearance, Julie goes missing. It is assumed that she has gone to join Felix until her remains are found 11 years later.
No-one was charged with Julie’s murder. Now Roberto ‘Sandy’ Sanchez is investigating Julie’s death as a cold case, and after all these years he starts to make sense of what really happened.
This book was beautifully written and I felt that I really got to know the five women involved as well as Bert and his wife Lorraine, and to a lesser extent Sandy (I think Laura Lippman does much better at portraying females than males).
The story moved back and forth between different time periods in such a way as to completely transport me.
Having said that, I probably didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped. I know nothing about Baltimore, so the endless references were completely lost on me, and some of the characters (particularly Michelle) were so infuriating that I wanted to hurl the book across the room (maybe well done to Laura Lippman for evoking such emotion).
Anyway, there was an obvious lead-in for a future Tess Monaghan book, and that particular direction is one that I’d enjoy following – so bring on the next novel!
Book Published 2014