Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review: After I'm Gone

Book Review: After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

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. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

A fascinating story told by multiple narrators, we slowly piece together the type of man Felix was and the impact he had on the women who loved him.

The story could have been confusing in less talented hands, but the author masterfully weaves together various tales from various time frames. It helps that each chapter has a date, as they bounce back and forth between past and present. Flashback stories can be tough to pull off, but I never got confused or lost. Each chapter is narrated by a different person too, and everyone had a unique voice.

We follow Bambi, Felix's wife, from the time she first meets Felix to present day. We watch her three daughters grow up and have children of their own. Then there is Felix's best friend Burt and his wife Louise (Bambi's BFF), Felix's bail bondsman/friend Tubby and girlfriend Susie, Felix's girlfriend Julie, and the man who tries to solve her murder, Sandy. Lots of characters, but their stories are so intriguing that we're pulled in and soon get caught up in all of the action!

A very well-done story with interesting characters and a well paced plot, by a talented author. There wasn't a boring character in the entire line-up, and even the missing Felix peaked my curiosity and earned my begrudging respect for his charismatic charm. Highly recommended if you're looking for a good read!

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


  1. I love when an author can create characters so amazing that everyone of them fascinates.

  2. For some reason I can never get into her books.... I'm not sure why, but she isn't for me. I'm glad you liked this one though.

  3. Nice to hear the multiple narration worked splendidly here. :) Thank you!

  4. aww this sounds absolutely lovely! I love a book with brilliant characters. Since I never heard of this one I will be adding it to my list.