Title: Long Gone
Author: Alafair Burke
ease Date: June 21, 2011
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5
It seems too good to be true. After struggling to find her place in the world, one independent of her famous father, Alice Humphrey has finally caught a break. A chance encounter at an art gallery leads Alice to the chance of a lifetime – managing her own art gallery for a mysterious client. But when Alice arrives at work one day to find her boss dead and the gallery empty, she becomes the focus of a police investigation and must take it upon herself to discover what really has been going on.
Long Gone is the psychological thriller genre at its finest. While Alice hasn't had a tough life by most standards, she has struggled to emerge from her father's very large shadow. She feels a sense of pride at the fact that she found a job she loves on her own. Alice is a sympathetic character; she's tough, resourceful, and very determined. She's easy to like, and despite the fact that she's from a privileged background, it's gratifying that she wants to work hard and make it on her own, rather than just coast on her father's fame. When all that is ripped away from her, neither Alice nor the reader knows what to think.
As the plot builds, Burke also ups the suspense. Alice no longer becomes an innocent bystander; it becomes clear that someone is trying to frame her for a murder she didn't commit. The twists and turns are so convincing that it's sometimes difficult to remember that Alice did nothing wrong. I can't describe how well Burke draws out the psychological aspect of this storyline. It's so tightly woven, and there is a surprise around every corner.
The novel does contain multiple storylines, seemingly unrelated plot threads that slowly begin to come together as Long Gone progresses. I'll admit that I was a little thrown by the non-Alice storyline. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and while it was certainly interesting, I didn't understand why Burke had chosen to include it. As the book sucked me in, however, I recognized how well Burke planned out her novel and ensured all the loose threads would tie together neatly at the end. While I never loved this secondary plot line, I do respect Burke's talent at weaving together a wonderfully suspenseful novel.
While Long Gone was my first Alafair Burke novel, it certainly won't be my last. I really enjoyed getting to know Alice and how relatable she was. I also loved her refusal to give up, no matter how daunting her circumstances seemed. She simply would not play the victim, which was very refreshing. If you're looking for a gripping and suspenseful psychological thriller, look no further.