After I'm Gone

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After I'm Gone
352 pages; William Morrow
In 1976, things look bad for Felix Brewer, the crooked businessman with big ambitions—"[Life] can better. It can always be better. Don't think small."—who pulls up the stakes of his cushy suburban Baltimore life and disappears. But he doesn't evaporate into a vacuum: Brewer leaves behind a wife, Bambi; three small daughters; and, a mistress, Julie. Ten years later, Julie vanishes. Then, in 2012, newly retired homicide detective Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez begins investigating cold cases for extra income, including the murder of Julie, whose body turns up in a local park. Everyone—as is so often the case in a Laura Lippman novel—knows more than he or she is telling, and everything comes back to romantic, shady Felix. This isn't a murder mystery, not really. And yet it is. This isn't a family saga, not really. And yet it is. Lippman doesn't deal in absolutes and it's her exploration of the nuance of loss—and its permeating presence, like carbon monoxide slowly poisoning the characters and their air—that makes this a must-read.
— Jordan Foster