Reviewed by Krista Castner

Alafair Burke’s latest book, Long Gone, is her first stand-alone thriller. Her background as former prosecutor has certainly given her real-life insight into what makes up a good crime story. This book takes place primarily in and around Manhattan. What would you do if you finally landed your dream job, only to find your boss murdered just days later? That’s the predicament Alice Humphrey finds herself in.

Alice is in her mid-forties. She is the coddled daughter of a Hollywood power couple. After deciding to live without the aid or influential support of her famous film director father, she soon loses her job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A year of unemployment follows. Enter Drew Campbell. He approaches Alice at an art show and offers to hire her to open a new art gallery for a reclusive artist and his even more reclusive benefactor who is sponsoring the new gallery. Alice can hardly believe her luck.

But as is often the case, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Just days after her successful launch of the gallery, Alice arrives at the gallery to find Drew Campbell dead on the floor and the gallery stripped bare. To make matters worse the police begin to suspect her as the prime suspect in Drew’s murder. She’s been skillfully framed by someone who wants to cause havoc for her and her family.

A subplot of Long Gone involves the disappearance of a fifteen year-old teenager, Becca Stevenson. Could the reason for her disappearance be about the sexting photo she sent to an older boy? Did she run away because of bullying about the photo, or is this a case of foul play? How does she factor into the gallery fiasco?

The books switches focus between the two stories in alternating chapters and various points of view. At first it took some concentration to keep everyone straight as the different storylines were introduced; but when the rhythm of the book developed I could anticipate who would be featured next.

I really grew to like Alice. She wasn’t a simpering idiot relying on Daddy’s fame and fortune. She was a fully developed character who was stunned by the situation she found herself in, but not about to stand around waiting to see what charges would be filed against her.

There were lots of twists and turns which is always fun (and to be expected) when reading a thriller. A few of the plot twists were easy to figure out ahead of time, but some of them did take me by surprise. I always like it when the author can genuinely surprise me. Long Gone was a fun thriller that was great for a few hours of pure escapism.

Rating: 4/5

Krista lives just outside the urban sprawl of Portland, Oregon. Lamentably, her work as a technical writer and business analyst often interferes with her reading which is a true passion.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by NAL Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.