Written By: Laura Lippman
Published By: William Morrow Books February 11, 2014
Length: 352 pages
Source: E galley via Edelweiss from Publisher in exchange for an honest review
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous Thing, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know returns with an addictive story that explores how one man’s disappearance echoes through the lives of the five women he left behind–his wife, his daughters, and his mistress
When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Day dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative–if not all legal–businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July in 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, facing prison, vanishes.
Though Bambi has no idea where her husband–or his money–might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day after Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover–until her remains are discovered in a secluded park.
Now, twenty-six years later, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over five decades. And at its center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic Felix Brewer.
Felix Brewer left five women behind. Now there are four. Does at least one of them know the truth? (Indiebound)
One of the things I like most about Laura Lippman is the diversity in her stand alone books. While this book is part thriller and missing person(s), it’s more about the impact the love or removal of love has on five women.
When Felix Brewer was alive he was spreading himself thin. He’d never deny the fact he was completely in love with his wife the first time he saw her. I also imagine Felix would say that his affairs were less a sign of his unhappiness with wife Bambi and more a statement of his voracious manhood and pleasure of the conquest. When Felix disappears he leaves Bambi and daughters emotionally and financially alone…with no plan or direction. He also leaves mistress Julie, but she has a leg up because she knows he’s leaving, and he’s left her with a business to run.
The research of Sandy Rodriguez is determined and a bit one sided, Sandy having more than a few preconceived notions on how both Felix and Julie disappeared, and who may have wanted Julie dead.
I enjoyed learning about each of the women Felix left behind to save himself, an act of shallow cowardice. His daughters grew up despite his departure but each of their lives impacted by his influence or lack of. His wife Bambi, always putting on the show of still having a place in society and the money to back it up.
The dark and twisted truth came to light slowly in this novel, and I was both surprised and delighted to read each detail. I highly recommend this book to lovers of Laura Lippman and fans of mystery and thrillers as well.