Title: After Anna
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Scottoline’s latest novel opens with the trial of Dr. Noah Alderman, who is being charged with first degree murder. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Dr. Alderman and his wife, Maggie. Noah’s version starts from the end of the trial, working backwards while Maggie’s version starts several months before and moves forward. Their stories feel like they are literally hurtling towards each other as the reader starts to tease out what has happened to their lives and their marriage. The story starts out as a courtroom thriller, but once the trial is over the plot increases dramatically in pace, reaching that “must-finish” level that will have many readers staying up past bedtime.
The heart of this story is made up of Maggie’s reunion with the daughter who was taken from her as an infant. Maggie, struggling from a severe case of postpartum psychosis, loses custody of her child to her ex-husband. While she has built a happy life with Noah and her stepson, Caleb, she has never stopped wondering about her daughter, sending letters and gifts, even doing a little cyber-stalking to get a glimpse of what her life has become. So when Anna, the daughter she lost, is suddenly back in her life, Maggie looks forward to finally having it all, but disaster is waiting to strike.
The story moves at a quick pace and readers who think they see every twist and turn coming will be surprised. Scottoline throws several curve balls into the last few chapters. This book is for any reader who is tired of figuring out their whodunnits half-way through the book. The most significant criticism I can offer for this book is that it wraps up too quickly. As a frequent reader of mysteries and thrillers, I enjoy the tying up of loose ends at the end of the story, and I felt a little cheated of that experience here. I appreciated the complexity of the story, but I would have loved to have delved deeper into the issues that were presented in the final chapters.
As a Scottoline fan, I felt After Anna lacked the complexity of One Perfect Lie, but is still not to be missed.
4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads. You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.
There are a few scenes of a sexual nature, but they tie in well with the nature of the villain in this story and don’t cross any significant lines. Foul language is minimal to non-existent.
I got access to this title for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.