This is an emotionally overflowing novel from the start. Written from the perspective of Lori, sister to Jessie, daughter of Dana Golden, we learn of their slightly disfunctional family set up. Dana split from her husband some years ago and has now moved Jake Hamilton and his son Spencer in to their home. The story begins with sweet sixteen year old Jessie not coming home. She’s never done this before and her mother, Dana, is seriously worried something bad has happened to her. Lori is also worried but tries to keep a calming atmosphere around her mother.
Meanwhile, step-brother Spencer wakes on the floor of an unknown room feeling very groggy and unable to remember anything of the previous night. There has been a spate of fires in properties around the city and as Spencer is gradually coming round, he smells smoke and realises he needs to get out now. As he is leaving, from the corner of his eye he glimpses an arm on the floor near him. Upon closer inspection he realises it is the dead body of his step-sister Jessie.
Spencer knows this looks bad for him. He can’t remember any of last night, his step-sister is dead on the floor and he has scratches, like from fingernails, on his back.
Lori is struggling with grief of losing her little sister and trying to hold things together for her mother who is in a fragile state, and she’s only holding it together because she has a loving and understanding boyfriend, Ryan. Lori suspects almost each person in turn and by the last few chapters of the book we, the reader, know who the murderer is, but Lori is in much danger.
Maggie James has an easy flowing style of writing. She writes as you would think and speak which gives a feeling of realism to her characters – you could actually know and mix with these people. Her stories are brimming with tension and there’s always something going on to keep the interest level up. After She’s Gone is no different and is certainly a compelling and action packed read.
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