After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When small time gangster Felix Brewer fled Baltimore in 1976 to escape jail time, he left his family and his mistress in the lurch. When his mistress went missing ten years later, everyone assumed she'd gone to live with him in hiding... until her body was discovered years later. Now Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a consulting detective, is on the cold case. Can he find what happened to Felix Brewer and who killed his mistress?
I've read a couple of Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan mysteries and decided to give this standalone a shot when it showed up in my BookGorilla email one day.
While there is a murder mystery, After I'm Gone is more about what happens to the people left behind. Felix Brewer left a wife, three daughters, and a mistress behind when he fled for parts unknown in 1976.
The story is told in several threads, chronicling Felix's days before he ran, Bambi Brewer and her girls as time went on, and Sandy Sanchez, trying to figure out what happened to Julie between her disappearance in 1986 to when her body was discovered years later. Sandy doesn't have much going for him besides his job, an aging detective who gets seduced by a photo of Julie from the 1970's.
Bambi and the girls are varying degrees of messed up after Felix ran out on them. Watching the train wrecks their lives become was grimly fascinating. I was actually surprised at how Michelle matured through the course of the book. I didn't guess Julie's killer until Bambi handed the answer to me. The whole Brewer family seemed like likely suspects.
While it was more straight up fiction than the murder mystery I expected, I still enjoyed After I'm Gone quite a bit, particularly the last 20%. The destination was well worth the journey. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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