Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Review: After She's Gone by Lisa Jackson

Cassie Kramer and her younger sister, Allie, learned the hazards of fame long ago. Together, they’d survived the horror of a crazed fan who nearly killed their mother, former Hollywood actress Jenna Hughes. Still, Cassie moved to L.A., urging Allie to follow. As a team, they’d take the town by storm.  But Allie, finally free of small-town Oregon, and just that little bit more beautiful, also proved to be more talented—and driven. Where Cassie got bit parts, Allie rose to stardom. But now her body double has been shot on the set of her latest movie—and Allie is missing.

Police discover that the last call to Allie’s phone came from Cassie, though she has no recollection of making it. Instead of looking like a concerned relative, Cassie is starting to look like a suspect—the jealous sister who finally grew sick of playing a supporting role. As the tabloids go into a frenzy, Cassie ends up on a Portland psych ward. Is she just imagining the sinister figure who comes to her bedside, whispering about Allie—a visitor of whom there is no record? Is someone trying to help—or drive her mad?

Convinced she’s the only one who can find Allie, Cassie checks herself out of the hospital. But a sudden slew of macabre murders— each victim masked with a likeness of a member of Cassie’s family—makes Cassie fear for her safety and her sanity. The only way to end the nightmare is to find out what really happened to Allie. And with each discovery, Cassie realizes that no one can be trusted to keep her safe—least of all herself…

Well, I think that After She's Gone will be receiving the "Biggest Disappointment of the Year" award from me. This didn't read as one of the amazing books from the talented Lisa Jackson, whom I fell in love with years ago. I picked this book up just knowing that I was in for a good read; Lisa Jackson was an author that I could go to if I just wanted to get wrapped up in a heart-stopping mystery. That is most definitely NOT how it played out this time. Actually, it was almost the furthest thing from that. 

I'll just start at the beginning, it's as good of a place as any at this point. The beginning was gripping and interesting and everything that I had hoped it would be. But then I got about 12% into the book, figured out how the book would play out and it was downhill from there. I was right about how the book would play out, by the way. Add that to the disappointing list. 

The passage of time in this book is not stated (at least where I read, I could have totally missed it) and you're left wondering how much time has passed. I was a bit confused for a while because there were flashbacks and inner thoughts and POV changes that were not seamless in the least. I found myself having to go back and reread because I wasn't completely for sure who in the hell was talking/thinking/doing-whatever. Speaking of characters ... there are 7 bazillion of them in this book. Thank goodness I was reading this on my Kindle and I could use the search option to go back and either find the character in previous chapters or figure out that this was yet another new character that I was going to not remember and have to look up later. I think that part of the problem was that these little secondary characters weren't made to seem significant enough to remember but then they were brought up every 37th page in the 2nd paragraph. Talk about irritating. I probably spent 1/3 of my reading time trying to figure out who the damn character was and how they were important to the story.

The story does pick up in the ending (and I'm talking the last 10 pages) but it's just not enough to redeem the other 400+ pages that you dragged your ass through just to get to "the good stuff". The story just felt unnecessarily long and bogged down. It felt heavy and (from the reader's perspective), I think that if 100 pages of dead weight was cut out, the story would pick up and it would be another jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, memorable creation by the great Lisa Jackson. Honestly, I may have lost a favorite author today. That's just too bad.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: December 29th, 2015

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