Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: Long Gone by Alafair Burke

Long Gone: A Novel I had never read anything by Alafair Burke. She has written two series of three books each. This one is a stand-alone, a suspense novel set in New York City.

The story is about Alice Humphrey, a former child star and daughter of a big name director. She has purposely gone on her own after learning that her father had had affairs, but is having a tough time since she lost her job at a museum. She was an art history major, so she is at the opening of an artist's show when she is approached by a handsome man. They chat and when he learns about her art background, he offers her a job managing a new gallery. He says she would be required to show some "unconventional" photographs done by the owner's boy toy several times a year, but in between she could select the art for the gallery. The job sounds too good to be true, but at the end of the day she desperately needs work and decides to sign on. A few days later her boss, the handsome guy, asks her to meet him early at the gallery. She arrives to find the windows covered with brown paper and the gallery empty except for his quite dead body in a pool of blood. The prime suspect? Alice of course.

I had a problem with the beginning of this book. Several story lines are introduced in separate chapters, none of them seeming to have any relationship to the others. For instance, there is a missing 16 year old girl from New Jersey. What? Then there is Alice's brother who is a recovering drug addict. Several times I had to turn back to read again who a character was and what their story was. Of course everything eventually comes together and once you get into the book it becomes absorbing, if a little confusing.

I don't normally try to solve the mystery in a good book because I enjoy just going along for the ride. Surprise me. In Long Gone I don't think I could have solved it if I had tried. The convoluted twists and turns are beyond my imagination but always make sense. However, I think if I had time I would read the book again to see if my impression that there is a lack of foreshadowing is true. You may be a better puzzle solver than I am, or less gullible, but I would bet everyone will be shocked at the end.

I do recommend this book and this author. Burke has been a prosecutor and a police advisor. She lives in New York. All of this lends itself to sense of actually being in the city. For myself, I intend to find and read her two series, one about a NYPD detective, and the other about a Portland Deputy District Attorney. Happy reading.


  1. I'm not sure this one is for me. I don't really care for convoluted. It doesn't bother me if I don't solve a mystery, but I do like some foreshadowing.

  2. I have thought about trying her, but I think it sounds a bit disorganized.

  3. Kathy and Dorte, Hope I didn't discourage you from reading a book you might have enjoyed. I intend to try one of her other books.

  4. Don´t worry. I listen to my blog friends, but I do not make up my mind based on one blog post. So she does not go on a permanent black list or anything ;)