Book Title and Author: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Publication Date and Publisher: April 10, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Legal Thriller
Pages: 352 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: March 26, 2018 (e-arc)
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 could have ever imagined.
Lisa Scottoline was one of the first “adult” mystery and suspense authors that I started reading in my young adulthood not long after she published Everywhere that Mary Went in the early 90s. I’ve read everything she’s published since then…wow, now I feel really old..but she still manages to blow me away every single time! I have to say that I think that with After Anna, Scottoline is at her finest because it just became my favorite among her stand-alone novels!
Maggie and Noah have been happily married for two years and share a wonderful life together with Noah’s 10-year-old son Caleb. Or everything would be wonderful if Maggie just had contact with her 17-year-old daughter Anna who she hasn’t seen since the girl was only 6 months old because Maggie lost custody of her after suffering postpartum psychosis.
Then out of the blue, Anna calls Maggie after her father dies in a plane crash and asks to live with her mother. Suddenly Maggie’s world is perfect because she has now has a complete, perfect family with the daughter she has waited for 16 years. Or does she?
Certainly, Noah and Caleb welcome Anna with open arms…until Noah sees that Anna might not be exactly who Maggie thinks she is. This, of course, leads to problems between him and Maggie and him and Anna. Soon, Anna is found dead and Noah is the only suspect. I can’t help but say that I thought Anna was off too, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The twist though–not in a million years did I see that coming!
The book is very interestingly written in chapters that alternate from the perspectives of Noah and Maggie told in the timeframes of “after” Anna died and “before” Anna died, which I thought really increased the tension in this already engrossing story, especially the chapters where Noah was on trial for Anna’s murder and we get to hear the courtroom testimony and evidence pointing towards Noah being her murderer. The evidence is certainly compelling, and I had to ask myself the entire time “who killed Anna?”. Was it Noah? If not, who did? This was one book that has you guessing up to the end, and the other twist was so crazy that I didn’t see it coming either!
The storylines being told by Maggie and Noah catch up to the same “time” towards the end of the book and by then, you are flipping pages because you have to know what happened to Anna! I had a sleepless night because I stayed awake until 3 am to finish this one, but I’m not complaining! The best books are the ones that you can’t put down until the final page is turned! My only wish was that there had been a little bit more to the ending of the book since I felt like I needed some closure and had some questions still at the end. Still, this was an incredibly good book, and I loved it.
I love how Scottoline delivers a mix of legal thriller, which she truly excels (I highly recommend her Rosato & DiNunzio series because they are some of the best legal thrillers written, bar none) and domestic thriller in After Anna. It was brilliantly done, but Scottoline is a consummate storyteller. This was definitely a book that I couldn’t put down. It’s filled with drama, is fast-paced, and super intense. I can’t wait to read more of Scottoline’s books in the future since she never fails to disappoint me.
**Thank you NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Lisa Scottoline for an ARC copy in exchange for my fair and honest review.**
About the Author: Lisa Scottoline