Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Synopsis: Nobody cuts deeper than family…
Noah Alderman, a doctor and a widower, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he and his son are happy. But their lives are turned upside down when Maggie’s daughter Anna moves in with them. Anna is a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble that is brewing. Events take a deadly turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her only daughter, but the realization that her daughter’s murder was at the hands of a husband she loves. New information sends Maggie searching for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she ever could have imagined.
Lisa Scottoline is known for her breathless, fast-paced plots, and After Anna is another fine example of this. However, I did have a few issues with this story and I don’t think this was one of the author’s best.
While I love evil teenage girls, to have one who wrongfully accuses an innocent of man of sexual assault made me uncomfortable given the current social climate. Of course cases like this happen, but I don’t think now is the right time to include that as part of a plot, given the #timesup and #metoo movements and our misogynistic assaulter-in-chief.
The other problem I had was with the somewhat awkward dialogue. With the exception of Noah’s young son Caleb, the characters don’t always come off as believable or relatable and the stilted way they speak doesn’t help. Noah is also just way too perfect to be realistic, and while Maggie is a sympathetic character, the way she puts all her trust in this teenager who she’s never met whose actions are highly suspicious, and immediately believes her accusations over the denials of the husband she adores, didn’t make sense.
A good chunk of the book is spent in the courtroom, so if you’re a fan of legal thrillers, as I am, I think you’ll enjoy this. There’s an unnecessary prison subplot though that I felt added nothing to the main narrative. The last quarter of the book turned into a crusade and the entire resolution resided with the villain voluntarily coming clean. The speed in which everything was tied up at the end, wasn’t believable and left several gaping plot holes.
I’m a fan of Lisa Scottoline, so although I don’t think After Anna is one of her best novels, it won’t stop me from reading her future books. There are many reviewers on Goodreads who enjoyed this more than I did, so I’d encourage you to check out their reviews as well if you’re mulling over whether to try this.