My Rating ~ Five stars
RELEASE DATE: 4 March 2019
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
In a small backwater town in Sweden, a young boy with a dark secret comes across a diary. As a cold case investigation suddenly becomes eerily current, a police investigator mysteriously disappears. What links these seemingly random events?
As atrocious acts from the past haunt the present and lives are changed forever, some will struggle to remember – while others struggle to forget . . .
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of After She’s Gone, in exchange for an honest review.
After making a horrifying discovery when she was a teen, Malin becomes a police officer and finds herself assigned to a related cold case many years later.
Jake is a young teenager, with a secret he’d do anything to protect. When he comes across an injured woman, coming out of the forest, with no memory of how she got there and finds himself in possession of her diary, he knows he should hand it in to the police. But admitting he has the diary could mean his most protected secret will get out. And that, Jake thinks, is the worst thing that could ever happen.
As both Malin and Jake work separately to try and discover the mysteries surrounding the current events, and the events of 20 years ago, the secrets the case reveals are more shocking than anyone ever expected.
I am still REELING from the book. It was absolutely incredible and one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long time! During the book I wasn’t sure how to take the obvious xenophobia from some of the characters and their views made me extremely uncomfortable. But by the end I realised the author had intentionally described the mentality of the small town in the story that way for a reason, which included showing just how dangerous and dividing those thoughts can be. I can’t even begin to say how much I loved the twists in After She’s Gone, and there were A LOT of them I never saw coming. I almost read this book in one sitting, because I was so desperate to find out what happened. Unfortunately, I had to read it over two days, because life got in the way.
There were some really wonderful, imperfect characters in this book. Malin was a complex character who was a little hard to love, but it was easy to see many of her flaws and decisions came from a place of fear about being stuck in a small, dying town. Jake was so sweet and although his desperation caused him to act in a way that wasn’t quite rational, he was definitely my favourite character. I loved the way important themes such as mental illness, xenophobia and the fear of rejection from society were woven so cleverly into this type of novel. I would highly recommend this one if you’re keen on murder mysteries with brilliant twists!