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Review: After Her

September 19, 2013

After Her

Sisters Rachel and Patty lead a carefree life even though their parents are divorced.  Their mother is in her own little world and pretty much leaves the girls to their own devices so they spend hours roaming the hills behind their house.  Their charismatic detective father is in and out of their lives – the girls don’t see him as much as they’d like.  When a serial killer starts killing young women in the area, it changes their family dynamics – the girls are forbidden to go in the hills and their father suffers under the pressure of the ongoing investigation.

Part mystery, part coming of age story, After Her, by Joyce Maynard, is one gem of a book.  Set during the summer of 1979 and told from Rachel’s perspective, this book totally captivated me.  I carried it with me wherever I went, hoping for a few spare moments to read.

I fell in love with Rachel right from the start.  She loves her sister and is protective of her, but also longs to be accepted by the cool kids.  Rachel adores her father and struggles to understand his personal life.  When he becomes the lead detective in the serial killer investigation, Rachel uses his fame to get in with the popular kids but finds that their world isn’t as great as she thought it would be.

After Her was inspired by a real serial killer, the Trailside Killer.  Maynard expertly weaves the serial killer story with a mystery that explores family dynamics and how they’re affected by a high profile, drawn out police investigation.  The mystery kept me guessing throughout the book – I thought I knew who the killer was a time or two but was proven wrong.  I thought this book was fantastic and highly recommend it.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
34 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2013 6:22 am

    Oooh, I love books like this! I’m going to see if this one is available on audio.

  2. September 19, 2013 6:39 am

    Sounds really good! I liked Maynard’s Labor Day so I’ll look for this book.

  3. Beth F permalink
    September 19, 2013 6:53 am

    I can’t wait to finish this one.

  4. September 19, 2013 7:23 am

    After reading your review, I added this book to my Goodreads To Read List. This sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for your review.

  5. September 19, 2013 8:01 am

    Great review and this book sounds awesome. Must file it in my head to read sometime.

  6. September 19, 2013 8:34 am

    Sounds great… adding to my wish list. I keep meaning to read this author!

  7. September 19, 2013 8:39 am

    Sounds just like my type of book… thanks for a great review.

  8. September 19, 2013 9:48 am

    Another one to add to the pile(s) especially if it kept you guessing right up to the end. I heard Maynard interviewed on NPR and was fascinated by how she used real events to come up with this novel.

  9. talesofwhimsy permalink
    September 19, 2013 10:15 am

    I don’t like the idea of reading about a serial killer but I reallly love Joyce’s book Labor Day and this review has me thinking I should give it a chance.

  10. September 19, 2013 10:34 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about this but I don’t know if I can take yet another serial killer book at the moment!

  11. September 19, 2013 10:53 am

    This does sound interesting — despite my moratorium on stories about children in danger, I am intrigued by this one.

  12. September 19, 2013 11:03 am

    Maynard’s writing is just wonderful. I really enjoyed this family and all of its faults.

  13. Patty permalink
    September 19, 2013 11:08 am

    Lovely review…this is a most read!

  14. September 19, 2013 11:10 am

    I love one that keeps me guessing like this sounds!! Creepy! :]

  15. September 19, 2013 11:46 am

    Sounds really good!!

  16. September 19, 2013 12:23 pm

    This does sound like a must-read book. Wonderful review, Kathy!

  17. September 19, 2013 1:31 pm

    Sounds good. I hope it’s available in audio – this is the kind of book I like to listen to.

  18. lab1990 permalink
    September 19, 2013 2:08 pm

    That’s interesting it’s based on a real serial killer. This sounds great.

    Lauren from

  19. Beth Hoffman permalink
    September 19, 2013 3:11 pm

    I tend to shy away from books with serial killers because I end up having nightmares (lol) … but your review has tempted me to put this on my list!

  20. September 19, 2013 3:14 pm

    I loved this one, too, Kathy…thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  21. September 19, 2013 3:17 pm

    Now this sounds so good. I love when the books lets you think you know the answer and then you are wrong. 🙂

    THANKS for your review.

  22. September 19, 2013 3:41 pm

    For some reason, I find serial killer stories fascinating, but have a very hard time reading gruesome descriptions of violence, so I’m often wary of picking them up. If I can find one that focuses on the mystery and is delicate in it’s description of violence, I can really enjoy them 🙂

  23. September 19, 2013 3:45 pm

    This sounds like a good one. And the main character has a great name! LOL

  24. bookingmama permalink
    September 19, 2013 4:55 pm

    Totally agree!!! This book was terrific.

  25. September 19, 2013 6:17 pm

    Yours is the second review I’m reading of this book, and the other review was also very positive. This author had not been on my radar but I’m intrigued now.

  26. September 19, 2013 7:50 pm

    This one sounds so interesting. I’ll have to put this one on the wish list.

  27. mstermind1 permalink
    September 20, 2013 7:38 am

    Sounds like another great one to add to the list!

  28. September 20, 2013 11:12 am

    Onto the TBR this goes!

  29. September 20, 2013 4:25 pm

    This sounds promising. I love a mystery, even more so when there are other elements mixed in. Thank you for the great review.

  30. September 22, 2013 11:59 am

    Hi Kathy,

    Joyce Maynard is a new name to me, although I have just spent several profitable minutes scouring her website. She is such an intriguing and interesting character and is certainly not afraid to take on the difficult and controversial storylines, which transcend fiction and become almost factual in the telling.

    I shall be adding her name to my ever-growing list, which will include all her books and I might even be persuaded into a biographical account of her life with Salinger, which sounds so alluring.

    Excellent review, you really drew me into this story and thanks for sharing.


  31. September 22, 2013 9:53 pm

    I’ve just added this to my list-looks like one I’d like. I’ve never read Maynard and this looks like a good place to start.

  32. September 23, 2013 3:13 pm

    This one is on my list. Glad you like it so much.

  33. September 26, 2013 10:43 am

    This does sound fantastic! I don’t read too many mysteries, but this one sounds intriguing.

  34. September 27, 2013 7:00 pm

    This is the second review I’ve read in the last 20 minutes, and I must say, I think I would love this book. Sadly, for now at least, I’m a little burned out on thriller/suspense/mystery books right now. I’m thinking it may be something I look into next year.

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