After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

after im goneAfter I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
William Morrow, February 2014

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

I picked up this book while I was reading great book after great book by women authors, and this one kept up the great reading streak. I’ve read over half of Lippman’s books, starting with the Tess Monaghan PI series and a few of her standalones, and I like the standalones especially. This particular novel deals with the disappearance of Felix Brewer, a gangster about to enter prison for mail fraud in 1976. He leaves behind his wife and three daughters as well as his mistress of a few years. Ten years after his disappearance, his mistress Julie goes missing, and several years after her disappearance, her remains are found in a large park in Baltimore. Sandy Sanchez, a retired homicide detective now working as a police consultant investigating cold cases, begins the investigation into the death of Julie.

First of all, this is a crime novel more in the vein of “a novel where a crime occurs,” than any sort of crime novel formula novel. Lippman spends more time building the world of Jewish mobsters in Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s as well as the lives of the women Felix left behind than she does on the investigation itself. It’s a fascinating story, and, most importantly, the story feels lived in. Lippman is so good at what she does. The characters are sympathetic, even Felix, and that’s no small feat as well.

Some writers are must buys for me, and Lippman is a long-standing member of my list. Highly recommended.

Reading Plans for 2014

Every six months or so I like to check in with my reading and posting plans for the blog, so here are my thoughts:

  • I’m joining the 2014 Global Reading Challenge at the easy level (one book from each continent), and I’ll try to read from as many countries as I can throughout the year, regardless of the continent. I’ve added a countries visited page to keep track of how diverse my reading is by setting. Now I need to get to updating the page.
  • I’m also joining the 2014 USA Fiction Challenge, and I’ve added a states visited page to track my progress over the coming years. My main goal for this challenge is to read books that don’t take place in New York and California.
  • My two reading challenges for the year are perpetual challenges for me because I’d like to add a bit more flexibility to my reading choices than I had last year. I’d like to return to some favorite authors I’ve discovered since I started blogging and reading crime blogs, I’d like to dig into my own bookshelves a bit more, and, like I mentioned last summer, I really want to read more books published for 2000.

So what can you expect over the next few months? Lots of translated crime novels, the occasional non-crime novel because I’m getting a bit burned out by crime reading, some authors I first read in 2012, and nothing too noir.