Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Long Gone by Alafair Burke


It seems too good to be true.  Alice Montgomery is attending an art exhibit when she is approached by another patron--an attractive, charming man.  They talk and Alice is amazed when the man says that he is helping a friend open an art galley and he is looking for someone to run it.  Alice's last job was in an art galley but since being laid off, she hasn't worked for a year.  She jumps at the chance and agrees to meet the man in the next few days once he has picked out a location.

In New Jersey, a teenage girl runs away.  Was it typical teenage angst or had she run away to escape the bullying she is encountering in high school?  Her mother had never told her about her father but had she run off to try to find him?  The police investigate but don't find much in the way of answers except that her fingerprints are inside the galley that Alice has just opened.

Hank is an FBI agent.  He is obsessed with a man who is a Dirty John figure--he charms women, gets all of their assets in his name then disappears.  The last woman who fell for his schemes is Hank's sister.  The man escaped all charges after her death but Hank is determined to bring him to justice.  He surveils him in his spare time even though he has been warned at work to stop and that unapproved suveillance could cost him his job.

Everything is brought to a head and the disparate threads merge when Alice opens the galley one morning to find it completely stripped of everything; pictures, desks, telephones, office supplies.  The only thing left is a body and it's the body of the man who is Alice's galley contact.  The police question her and her answers don't satisfy them.  It becomes apparent that Alice is the chief suspect and there are questions that the police aren't even investigating.  Can Alice solve the murder?

This is Alafaire Burke's first stand alone novel.  It is fascinating to watch the plot unfold and the various threads weave together into a story that makes sense.  There are hints of relationships that will continue after the case and it is always interesting to think about what happens to people swept up in a police investigation afterwards.  Alice is the archtype of a young woman trying to make it on her own in New York although she has a family that can rescue her when needed.  This book is recommended for mystery fans.

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