Today I’m very excited to introduce you to Jeff Abbott, the bestselling author, who is going to talk about one of his favourite books: After I’m gone, by Laura Lippman, as part of the event 30 authors in 30 days (#30authors).30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. There are also some great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel or join the Facebook group. You can also follow along on Twitter with the #30Authors hashtag!
Jeff Abbott on After I’m gone
AFTER I’M GONE is Laura Lippman’s finest novel. It builds its powerful suspense not only by the slow reveal of the truth of what happened to gangster Felix Brewer after he disappeared, but the truth about the relationships of the women he loved and left behind. His loyal mistress Julie, his underestimated wife Bambi, his three very different daughters—Linda, Rachel, and Michelle—all were forever changed when Felix vanished. What happens when a father, a husband, a lover voluntarily walks away? How do you love or trust again?
These are big questions that Lippman doesn’t flinch from confronting. But the story is not only a thoughtful examination of how people have to find their strength again after abandonment, it is a brilliantly executed page turner of a mystery that plays (but always fairly) with the reader’s expectations. Lippman leads you one way, then another, through the labyrinth of blame, guilt, and motives of the five women.
As well, the novel draws a sharp portrait of family life in Baltimore from the 1960s to the present, through the filter of the shattered Brewer family. (I have only been to Baltimore once, but Lippman makes it vivid and alive as a setting even if you don’t know the city well.) The drama and the mystery plays out as the Brewer women deal with changing gender roles, politics, the tech bubble, and the dawn of a new century. The chapters move seamlessly back and forth through time, with Lippman never losing the narrative thread. All with Felix’s long shadow cast over their lives, until a horrific discovery forces the Brewer women to face a long-buried secret that has haunted them for years.
Whenever I speak at book clubs, they ask me for more reading recommendations, and I always suggest Laura Lippman. Her novels strike an excellent balance to intrigue readers: she always offers a compelling mystery, and intelligent, detailed character studies. AFTER I’M GONE meshes a compelling family drama with a tragic crime story; that it works so well is a testment to Lippman’s skill as a novelist.
About Jeff Abbott
Jeff Abbott (born 1963) is a U.S. suspense novelist. He has a degree in History and English from Rice University. He lives in Austin, Texas. His early novels were traditional detective fiction but in recent years he has turned to writing thriller fiction. A theme of his work is the idea of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary danger and fighting to return to their normal lives. His novels are published in several countries and have also been bestsellers in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and France.
Interested in After I’m gone? You can learn about Laura Lippman by liking her on Facebook or following them on Twitter. Or, you can purchase the book now on Amazon. You can also learn more about Jeff Abbott by liking them on Facebook, following him on Twitter, or purchasing his last book on Amazon.