Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long Gone by Alafair Burke

Title: Long Gone
Author: Alafair Burke
Pages: 368
Genre: Suspense Fiction
Release Date: June 21st, 2011
Publisher: Harper
Source: Copy provided by publisher for TLC Book Tours

What's It About?: Things are starting to turn around for Alice Humphrey. At 37 she is unemployed, single, and struggling to get out from the shadow of her father, a famous movie director. It's been eight months since being laid off from her job at the Met, and Alice begins to question many of the choices in her life including her decision to get an MFA. Then one night at a local art show, she meets handsome and mysterious Drew Campbell who offers her a job managing the art gallery he is to open that will showcase the work of unknown Hans Schuler, an artist who's works are edgy, modern, and quite disturbing. Wondering if the offer is too-good-to-be-true, Alice's initial skepticism gives way to her desperation to not only find a job but to land her dream job.

Soon, Alice finds her rhythm again and enjoys the structure that managing the gallery has given to her days. While opening night may not have been packed, online orders for Schuler's work begin pouring in until one afternoon Alice finds a group of protesters marching outside the gallery alleging that some of the models in the photographs are underage. Unsure of what to do, she calls Drew for help and agrees to meet him at the gallery the next morning. However, when she arrives the gallery has been stripped of all art and a dead body lays on the ground. As the police begin their investigation, one that becomes entangled with a case involving a missing New Jersey teenager, Alice quickly finds herself as the prime suspect. Now she must do everything in her power to find out the truth, even if it means revealing some secrets long hidden by her estranged family.

What Did I Think?: Long Gone is Alafair Burke's first standalone novel and, from what I've read, departs from her usual detective based fare. I can't say if this is better than her previous works, but the story was quite suspenseful and riveting. Much of the book was consumed in large chunks as I couldn't stop turning the pages. An NYC setting, an underground criminal enterprise, hidden secrets, an on-again off-again boyfriend, an estranged brother, and a missing girl are just some of the elements that really made Long Gone come alive. This well-crafted tale employs many twists and turns along the way.

Even though predictable at times, I still fell into Alice's story quickly. While some of her choices came across as naive, especially for a 37 year old woman, they weren't outlandish. I chalk a lot up to the desparation created by being unemployed. As the investigation continues, Alice begins to grow and become more confident in herself instead of crumbling or relying on someone else. Yay for a strong heroine! Unfortunately, I felt that the male counterparts were a little lacking in development and came across as slightly stereotypical but not in an overt way that would bring the book down.

The prose flows well with both dialogue and detail complementing each other. For me, the beginning chapters introduced a lot of different characters and subplots and seemed a little choppy, but as I continued I realized that Burke's talent lies in taking these multiple story threads and weaving them together by the end of the book. Sure some of the subplots weren't as well developed or wraped up, but this didn't really affect my level of enjoyment.

While Long Gone may not appeal to some readers, I think most fans of psychological and suspense thrillers will enjoy it immensley. I like how Burke raised many of the questions surrounding social media today from online message boards to illegal photography to Facebook. This was my first Alafair Burke novel, but it certainly won't be my last!



Want to know what others  are saying? Visit the next stops on the tour or check out Alafair Burke's website, Facebook page, and Twitter account for more information

Thanks again to TLC Book Tours for having me on the tour. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

8 comments:

  1. I've not read this author before but I love the art gallery setting.

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    1. The art angle definitely added to the book. I think you'd enjoy this one if you're looking for a simple yet suspenseful read!

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  2. I'm on this tour, too, so I was excited to read your post on the book. I'd read another Burke book before and didn't really care for it, which made me hesitant to pick up this one. I'm glad I did, because after reading your post I'm looking forward to reading it ;) Like Ti, I love that its using an art gallery for the setting :)

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    1. Which other book by Burke did you read? This one made me want to pick up her other works, but maybe the success of this one wouldn't be found in her earlier stuff. Maybe she's become better with practice?

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  3. I do really love psychologically suspenseful novels, and one of my favorite books of last year was one of this genre. I have to tell you that you wrote an insanely intriguing summary, and that, coupled with your review makes me want to rush out and get this one as soon as I can. It would be great if my library had it on audio, so I am off to check. Fantastic review today!

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    1. Depending on the narrator, I think this would be a good choice for an audio book. Thanks for the summary compliment! Usually those are the toughest for me to write. There's so much information to convey without giving away too much or not providing enough to give a good idea of the story.

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  4. I'm glad this one kept you hooked and turning page after page!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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  5. I really loved this one too! I'm planning to start her two series soon. I hope they're just as good:-)

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