Long Gone was my first experience reading Alafair Burke, but it definitely will not be my last. I can now include Alafair Burke on my list of favorite female mystery authors. The list includes Lisa Unger, Karin Slaughter and Laura Lippman.
In Long Gone, unemployed Alice Humphrey meets mysterious Drew Campbell during an art opening. Drew represents an undisclosed wealthy man who plans to open an art gallery featuring his lover’s work in its first exhibition. Drew offers Alice the position of gallery manager. Even though the job seems too good to be true, Alice jumps into the position with gusto. Unfortunately, she quickly finds out that her dream job is not so dreamy. First, a group of protesters show up to protest the first exhibition. Then Drew Campbell turns up dead on the floor of an empty gallery. It is as if the gallery never existed. The photographs and the furniture are gone. The space is empty.
Alice is the prime suspect in Drew’s death. The police even have photographic evidence of her kissing Drew, except that Alice knows she never kissed Drew. So who is the woman in the photo? Is it a really good Photoshop job or does Alice have a doppelganger? Alice realizes that someone is trying to set her up. Alice happens to be a former child actress and the daughter of an award-winning director. With her name connected to the crime, her whole family is dragged into the tabloids.
Long Gone provides a perfect mix of family secrets, drama and suspense. There are side stories about a missing high school girl and religious protesters that strongly resemble Fred Phelps and his creepy crew. This book is a completely engrossing read. Long Gone is out today, and I encourage you to grab yourself a copy.
I recently began following Alafair Burke’s blog, which is hosting the Duffer Awards this summer. Duffer is her dog, which was enough to hook me before I even read Long Gone.