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After Her
by Joyce Maynard


Overview -

The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and The Good Daughters returns with a haunting novel of sisterhood, sacrifice, and suspense.

I was always looking for excitement, until I found some . . .

Summer, 1979. A dry, hot Northern California school vacation stretches before Rachel and her younger sister, Patty the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective father and the mother whose heart he broke.  Read more...


 
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More About After Her by Joyce Maynard
 
 
 
Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and The Good Daughters returns with a haunting novel of sisterhood, sacrifice, and suspense.

I was always looking for excitement, until I found some . . .

Summer, 1979. A dry, hot Northern California school vacation stretches before Rachel and her younger sister, Patty the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective father and the mother whose heart he broke.

When we first meet her, Patty is eleven a gangly kid who loves basketball and dogs and would do anything for her older sister, Rachel. Rachel is obsessed with making up stories and believes she possesses the gift of knowing what's in the minds of people around her. She has visions, whether she wants to or not. Left to their own devices, the sisters spend their days studying record jackets, concocting elaborate fantasies about the mysterious neighbor who moved in down the street, and playing dangerous games on the mountain that looms behind their house.

When young women start turning up dead on the mountain, the girls' father is put in charge of finding the murderer known as the "Sunset Strangler." Watching her father's life slowly unravel as months pass and more women are killed, Rachel embarks on her most dangerous game yet . . . using herself as bait to catch the killer. But rather than cracking the case, the consequences of Rachel's actions will destroy her father's career and alter forever the lives of everyone she loves.

Thirty years later, still haunted by the belief that the killer remains at large, Rachel constructs a new strategy to smoke out the Sunset Strangler and vindicate her father a plan that unexpectedly unearths a long-buried family secret.

Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case that terrorized Marin County, California, in the late 1970s, After Her is part thriller, part love story. Maynard has created a poignant, suspenseful, and painfully real family saga that traces a young girl's first explorations of sexuality, the loss of innocence, the bond shared by sisters, and the tender but damaged relationship between a girl and her father that endures even beyond the grave."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062257390
  • ISBN-10: 0062257390
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: August 2013
  • Page Count: 309


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense
Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-06-03
  • Reviewer: Staff

Bestselling author Maynard (The Good Daughters) returns with the story of a broken family rocked by a real-life Bay Area serial killer. Rachel Torricelli and her younger sister, Patty, idolized their father, a homicide detective with a voice like Dino and an insatiable love for women—especially his daughters. After divorce split up their home, he mostly disappeared, and Rachel, who recounts the story as an adult (and a mystery writer), was content playing backyard games and bossing Patty around. But their play is tinged with darkness in the summer of 1979, when murders begin occurring along Marin County’s hiking trails. The girls’ father is on the case and his sudden star power makes Rachel popular, but she can’t resist chasing clues (some courtesy of “visions”), putting her and her sister in harm’s way. Maynard captures the way that memory works in fragments: Rachel recalls “My Sharona” as the soundtrack of the summer, fusing her perspective with that of the killer, who sings it to his victims. Her retelling also flip-flops seamlessly from her teenage anxieties to the front-page news—a testament to Maynard’s narrative dexterity. This cinematic coming-of-age murder mystery satisfyingly blends suspense with nostalgia. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Sept.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Hunting down a killer becomes a family obsession

From best-selling author Joyce Maynard—a writer who shot to international fame after the release of her memoir detailing her affair with J.D. Salinger—comes a riveting mystery, After Her. Inspired by the true-life story of the Mount Tamalpais Trailside Killer, Maynard’s thriller follows what happens when a predatory serial killer strikes in the backyard of two young girls, whose father happens to be the lead detective on the case.

In the summer of 1979, Rachel Toricelli and her younger sister Patty spend their days concocting elaborate fantasies and playing inventive games on the mountain behind their Marin County home—for in the wake of their parents’ recent divorce, there is little to no parental guidance during their summer vacation. Their mother, a quiet poet, spends most of her time chain-smoking and reading in her bedroom. Their father, Dino—a suave homicide detective who could make the most stoic woman blush—sporadically swoops in to take the girls out to dinner in North Beach. The girls miss their charming father desperately. Then the first murder takes place almost literally in their backyard.

As more young girls are raped and strangled, the killer is dubbed the Sunset Strangler, and Dino becomes the lead detective on the case. The girls begin to see their father mostly on their neighbors’ television screens as he gives endless press conferences. As a result of her father’s “stardom,” Rachel finds herself elevated to the popular girl group, where she gossips, dates and leaves her younger sister behind, and Maynard cleverly juxtaposes these quieter coming-of-age dilemmas with the hunt for the killer.

Maynard skillfully draws out the hunt for the Sunset Strangler, keeping readers’ attention despite the somewhat literary pace. In fact, it is the last few chapters of the book, which follow the adult Rachel, that make this story so intriguing. Readers will hang on to Maynard’s final words in order to find out what became of the Sunset Strangler, the secrets of Dino’s past and how Rachel finally resolves her haunting obsession.

After Her perfectly captures the essence of California in the late 1970s, as a young woman explores her sexuality, her ties to her family and ultimately, how her own innocence was shattered.

 
BAM Customer Reviews