Lori’s 16-year-old younger sister Jessie is missing. A house is aflame and in the cellar, Jessie’s murdered body is found – a family torn apart …
Soon Lori’s world is about to change for the worst but for now, she is bored, visiting her friend Aiden and his roommate, firefighter Damon. Lori would rather have spent time with her gorgeous new boyfriend Ryan.
Then Lori’s mother Dana calls her and asks if she knows the whereabouts of her 16-year-old sister Jessie. It becomes clear that the one who last saw Jessie was her murderer. Was it Spencer, the adult son of Dana’s boyfriend Jake? Time to find out…
When Dana finds out her youngest daughter was raped and murdered her world falls apart. She is devastated and, as she is chronically ill and needs dialysis, Lori has to deal with both her mother’s grief and her own as well as support her mother. Jessie and Lori’s father divorced her mother a long time ago and Dana has moved on with Jake.
Lori has spotted Jake looking at Jessie and she is concerned. Is he the one responsible for Jessie’s death? If not, why is he so evasive? Lori knows Jake is hiding something. As the family is anxious to see the evil killer caught they are aware that Spencer is nowhere to be found. Suspicions and emotions rise high when Spencer finally turns up – to be interrogated by the police. Then there is Aidan who keeps asking Lori questions and who seems obsessed with the investigation.
Lori finds Aidan’s questions invasive and disturbing and wonders if there is anything behind them. Could Aidan be regarded as a suspect? Lori has no time to grieve herself as her mother can barely keep it together and needs her daughter to take care of her. Lori is very glad to have her boyfriend Ryan who is so understanding and supportive, especially when the family is falling apart as accusations and emotions run high.
Meanwhile, an arsonist is on the loose in Bristol and again, the police come to their home. How do the fires relate to the horrific murder of Jessie or, for that matter, to her mother Dana? There must be a psychopath at work because Dana receives cards with venomous texts, blaming her for her daughter’s murder. As the events unroll the story gets more complicated and dangerous …
A thrilling book about the relationship between two sisters, a mother and her daughters, a father and his estranged daughter, those are a few of the topics in After She’s Gone. This has all the elements of a thriller, including a mind-blowing plot twist, but for me, the most impressive was how the author let her protagonist Lori handle her grief. In most thrillers and detectives, you watch the detective going to a family home and tell them their beloved one is murdered.
Here, there is a new level because the author takes us along with Lori in showing us not just her emotions when she hears of her sister’s death but also in the days after, when she struggles to come to terms with her mixed feelings of loss, love, and guilt as well as her trying to cope with everything and still be supportive to her mother. Combine that with the intriguing plotline and you have what for me, made this well-written book an exciting and enjoyable read.
About the Author
Maggie James is a British author who lives near Newcastle. She writes psychological suspense novels.
Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did.
The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!
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|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing (16 Mar 2017)|