The basics: New York City is abuzz with the news of a woman heroically rescuing a young man who fell onto the subway tracks and then running away. When prosecutor turned journalist McKenna Jordan researches the story she discovers someone took cell phone video of the woman, and she looks exactly like McKenna's friend Susan Hauptmann, who has been missing for ten years.
My thoughts: Having read all of Alafair Burke's novels in seven months last year, I'm able to spot some of her patterns, even as she continues to improve her craft. When I sat down to read If You Were Here, I made sure I had pen and paper with me to create a detailed character map. Burke doesn't waste any details: every tidbit is significant, even if doesn't feel that way as you read. Admittedly, I was pretty proud of myself to spot a few trademark twists and turns, but as I bridged connections, I realized doing so made Burke's story even more impressive. As I beat McKenna to a few crucial plot points (admittedly, I was privy to more character's point-of-view than she is), I was even more gobsmacked by the 'how' and 'why'?
In If You Were Here, I questioned everyone at least once. There's something satisfying about knowing who you as a reader can trust, but in this book I cared more about McKenna and her knowing whom she could trust. As a reader, I love encountering characters I can root for, and McKenna is one I'd love to invite to a dinner party and form a lasting friendship with.
Favorite passage: "All those facts were true. But memory was malleable. It was selective. Some facts hardened, and others fell away."
The verdict: If You Were Here is a smart, spellbinding mystery filled with surprises, but Burke elevates it to a higher level with characters and relationships who are as dynamic and complicated as the plot itself.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 384 pages
Publication date: June 5, 2013
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy If You Were Here from an independent bookstore or Amazon (Kindle version.)
Want more? Check out the entire tour schedule, visit Alafair Burke's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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