LONG GONE is the first stand-alone novel from Alafair Burke, author of the Ellie Hatcher and Samantha Kincaid series. I’m a little skeptical when established authors venture into new territory—I am a creature of habit—but I like Alafair’s writing a lot, and so I charged headlong into this one.
From the first pages, one thing is clear: Alafair Burke has become a novelist to be reckoned with. Her storytelling and use of language is far from formulaic; she clearly has found a voice that is her own. And she’s not afraid to use it.
LONG GONE is a complex tale that is artfully constructed, almost more like a group of interlinked novellas that gradually come together with exquisite timing. In hindsight, the construction of LONG GONE brought to mind the Astronomical Clock in Prague’s Old Town Square, which has been doing its animated, intricate dance since 1410. Many moving parts, moving in seemingly different directions, that all work perfectly together.
I like books that make the reader uncomfortable by pulling them in and giving them specific story elements to which they can relate, and LONG GONE certainly does just that. You’re going along, living your life, having your day-to-day trials and tribulations and..bam! Nothing is what you thought it was. Not people or places or, well, anything. This is the plight of our heroine, Alice Humphrey, along with characters in several of LONG GONE’s storylines.
All of Alafair’s books have a strong sense of place, and LONG GONE is no different. But this New York is a little frayed around the edges. It’s glamorous, yes, but a tad dirty, too. It is rife with detail without being cumbersome. LONG GONE has quite a lot of characters—something I usually don’t love in books—but in this case, each is written with a clarity that makes keeping track of them a joy rather than a chore.
LONG GONE is an ideal summer read for two reasons: It’s a “lose yourself” book, and it’s also one you’ll want to recommend to your friends. Reading it leaves one with a distinct sense of discovery. Even though Alafair isn’t a new author, her voice in this book is stronger and more clear that it has been before. I see bestseller lists in her future.
Karin Slaughter said it better than I ever could: “Long Gone is the type of book that should come with a warning. It’s a compulsively readable, highly addictive story. The ending will leave you breathless.”
LONG GONE comes out on June 21. You should pre-order it. If you do, and if you don’t like it, I’ll buy you a new book. Yes, really.
Blurb: A sure-to-be bestseller you’ll want to share.
Author’s Website: www.alafairburke.com