I received this e-Arc from NetGalley and Kensington in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 29th, 2015
Synopsis: 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 is 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 new discovery, Cassie realizes that no one can be trusted to keep her safe–least of all herself.
The good news is that although After She’s Gone is a sequel of sorts to Lisa Jackson’s Deep Freeze (2005), this can easily be read on it’s own. The bad news is that while the mystery is interesting enough, the characters are one-dimensional, unlikable, and to be perfectly frank, completely unbelievable.
The heroine of the story is Cassie, and while at the beginning of the story I had a modicum of sympathy for her, it fast disappeared. She scurries from Oregon, to L.A. and back to Oregon in increasingly desperate attempts to find her sister Allie who by all accounts is a despicable person who hates Cassie and has done everything in her power to break up Cassie’s marriage to the dishy cowboy Trent. As past fights between the two sisters are revealed through Cassie’s memories, it becomes clear that no matter how much she dislikes Allie, she keeps going back for more abuse, yet she treats Trent, who has done nothing but love and support her, like dirt. While I understand the bond between the sisters, especially having survived such a horrible childhood trauma, this just strained credibility. Cassie does become more empowered in the latter half of the book, but by that time I just didn’t care.
The mystery surrounding the missing Allie, and an increasing body count made up of people associated with the sisters’ last film Dead Heat, will keep you guessing, although by the time I had reached the midway point I had guessed the why if not the who. While the main mystery is solved, there’s a little surprise at the end that leaves the possibility for a third book about the Kramer family.
I vascillated between giving this 2.5 – 3.0 stars, before finally settling on the higher rating. While it’s received mixed reviews on Goodreads, there’s quite a few readers who enjoyed this. I think if you’re already a Lisa Jackson fan, you should try it. If you’re new, I recommend you go back and read some of her earlier books before tackling this one.