Friday, July 26, 2013

After Her; Joyce Maynard

Title: After Her 
Author: Joyce Maynard
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Edition: eGalley/personal copy
Source: Publisher / Edelweiss
Date Completed: July - 2013
Rating: 4/5

In part a coming of age story, but also based on the Trailside Killer...a.k.a Sunset Strangler case that terrorized Marin County, California, in the late 1970s, After Her tells the story of young sisters Rachel and Patty Torricelli. Patty is the youngest, in 5th grade when the story begins.

Both Rachel and Patty adore their dad, a homicide detective and also a big-time womanizer. Their relationship with their mother pretty much consists of living under the same roof.  After the parents split up, early on in the story, the mother becomes depressed and detached and the girls are pretty much left to care for and amuse themselves, except for the occasional times when they visit with their father and his girlfriend.

The girls like to play detective games, like what's up with the odd neighbor who lives on their street. They also enjoy entertaining themselves by making up stories, peering in windows to watch the televisions of their neighbors, since they no longer have cable television, and hanging out in the mountains nearby. However, when local women begin to turn up dead along the mountain trails, and there aren't any real suspects, Rachel and Patty are forbidden by their father to spend time in the mountains.

Instead of running scared, the sisters are even more curious about clues that might have been missed. When the murder count continues to go up,  their detective father, who is in charge of the investigations, seems at a loss and his career is on the line.  Rachel comes up with a plan to use what she claims be be her intuitive powers, which she thinks may help solve the cases, putting their lives at risk in the process.

......."Lying in my bed at night, I wanted to tell me father that I knew a few things about the killer too. (About his black loafers. His chubby fingers. And maybe a dog.) But I knew he would just have told me to stop thinking about it."

While the sisters at times seemed somewhat naive, at other times times seemed older than their years. Preoccupied with sex, in one instance Rachel conjures up images of the murderer having sex with the dead girls. The story is told from Rachel's POV and, I really loved reading about the close relationship between these sisters. Much of their daily activities seemed to ring true for what kids did for fun after school and in the summer at least in the 1960s and continuing into at least some of the 70s, before latch-key kids became popular and kids kept themselves amused indoors with television, video games and computers.

Overall, this novel had a lot going for it, which made non stop reading very easy. Part coming of age story, Family drama and even a real-life murder mystery. There were good doses of suspense,  I really loved how the author portrayed each sister. I felt like I knew girls rather well. I do wish that the murder aspect of the story could have been more fully developed. Although I liked this book, readers who need a clear cut resolution to all aspects of a story might be a little disappointed.


  1. I'm so excited to see this is good. I've been wanting to read it for a while.

  2. I wanted to see what you thought about this book. I go back and forth on this author.

  3. This is another author I keep meaning to read...

  4. Oooooh, I'd love to read this. I bet this would be a good one on audio.

  5. It does sound like it has a lot going for it!

  6. Great review, Diane! I'd like to read this (or something else by this author).

  7. I'm glad you liked this! I was considering it, and now I feel pretty certain I will enjoy it. Thanks.

  8. Yay! Good to know you enjoyed it. This one is high up on my wish list.

  9. I think i this is one that I will enjoy reading .... and I love the cover!
    Thank you, as always, for sharing.

  10. I do not think I will read this book and I have not read the author before, so will look up her other works.
    I can tell you really enjoyed the book, and I am sure at least 2 folks in my book groups will want to add this to their list.

    There was so much about the plot of the story here, that I do not think I want to read it. I just like plot hints and I dislike movie trailers that tell too much. I will just pass on your good review and see who's excited. Also FB and Twitter

  11. I'm adding this to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

  12. Love books that work in real life experiences into the story. I think I'll be good without clear cut resolutions so I'll definitely be adding this to the wish list.

  13. Ooh this sounds interesting. Another one for my list!

  14. I have enjoyed her other books so this is one that I think I would really like to read. I'm okay with an ending like that...sometimes! :)

    1. I am the kind of person who needs an ending tied up in neat little bow, but this story intrigues me. Thanks Diane, I am going to put this on my reading list.

  15. I like books, especially mysteries, by young sleuths. This one goes on my list!

  16. I read another of this author's books years ago and loved it. This one sounds good too. That's too bad about the murder mystery not being more fully developed as that would be a big draw to the novel for me. Still, this sounds like something I would like overall--and it sounds like you did too!

  17. I love this author, and I loved this book. I can see how the need for resolution might be a this case, that aspect of the story didn't bother me.

    Great review.

  18. I adore Maynard's writing. I have this one and it will be the next one I pick up to read.


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