Book Review

‘After I’m Gone’ by Laura Lippman

ll aigSTORY: 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 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 all of his money-might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young 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 in a secluded wooded park.

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 of bitterness, jealously, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women: a faithful wife, a dead mistress, and three very different daughters. And at the center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic 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.

REVIEW: It’s July 1976 and Felix Brewer is a man who is awaiting sentencing for his part in illegally taking money from people in a type of Ponzi scheme.  He will be leaving behind his wife and three daughters, as well as a mistress.  However, before he can be sentenced, he disappears.  He has actually fled the country knowing he will never return.  His family is devastated at his leaving especially when they find he has not provided for them financially.  As the years pass, we follow the his wife, Bambi, and each of his daughters as they mature and we discover how their father’s desertion has affected them.  Bambi struggles to makes ends meet.

While she cannot afford things that she used to, she continues to hang onto the family home. Old friends of hers and Felix’s are always there for them assisting the family financially in many ways which is a huge comfort to her and her daughters.

Ten years after his disappearance, Felix has still never been found.  However, the woman known to have been his mistress has been discovered dead in a very remote location.  Her body has been there for a very long time.

Enters Sandy, a retired cop who has decided to do investigative work to stay busy.  Having just lost his wife to illness, he is a grieving man and needs to stay busy.  He is working on the cold case of the disappearance of Felix Brewer and the murder of his mistress.  He digs deeply into the file looking for any clues that might lead to the killer of the mistress.  As he delves into the lives of the family members, he learns that any of them could potentially be the killer. But, are they?  And if so, who is it?

Laura Lippman has written a very intriguing novel that jumps back and forth in time.  If I have a complaint at all about the book, I would say that is my only pet peeve.  Sometimes, I find it difficult to follow when an author does that.

*Connie for b2b

*ARC provided by TLC Book Tours.

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