From New York Times bestselling author Alafair Burke comes a suspenseful, tightly plotted story of friendship, lies, and betrayal.
Journalist McKenna Jordan is chasing the latest urban folktale—the story of an unidentified woman who heroically pulled a teenaged boy from the subway tracks, seconds before the approach of an oncoming train. When McKenna locates a video snippet that purportedly captures the incident, she thinks she has an edge on the competition scrambling to identify the mystery heroine.
McKenna is shocked to discover that the woman in the video bears a strong resemblance to Susan Hauptmann, a close friend—and a classmate of her husband’s at West Point—who vanished without a trace ten years earlier. The NYPD concluded that the nomadic Susan—forced by her father into an early military life, floundering as an adult for a fixed identity—simply started over again somewhere else.
But McKenna has always believed the truth went deeper than the police investigation ever reached. What might have been a short-lived metro story sends her on a twisting search that leads across New York City—and to dark secrets buried dangerously close to home…
Burke's outstanding stand-alone suspense novel, her second after 2011's Long Gone, stars appealing (if impulsive) McKenna Jordan, a New York City journalist whose stint covering the DA's office ended in a maelstrom of media indignation when she falsely accused a cop of planting a gun. McKenna's investigation into the story of an unidentified woman who singlehandedly pulled a teenager from the subway tracks takes an unexpected turn. Grainy video footage of the incident reveals that the heroic woman uncannily resembles McKenna's old friend Susan Hauptmann, a gregarious West Point grad whose mysterious disappearance 10 years earlier has haunted McKenna. The stakes rise as McKenna moves from chasing the story du jour to chasing a long-buried truth revisiting the character of the woman she thought she knew as well as the controversial case that discredited her. Burke succeeds in making Susan plausible as a woman who is charming and complex enough to warrant McKenna hurling herself into an inquiry that threatens her journalistic credibility, her relationship with her husband, and possibly her life. Burke's accuracy in legal and judicial technicalities is impressive although most readers will find simpler pleasures in her sharp writing, well-constructed plot, and dimensional characters.
Loved it, loved it...
I forced myself to pace. I didn't want to finish the book too quickly - when finished, then what - on to start crappy novel?
No - this is a book to savor. To get caught up in the melancholy of losing a close friend all those years ago. The title alone sets the stage for a real heart breaker.
But then the ending. A twist here, a twist there - frankly, I would have loved it more had there been less twists. It became a little too contrived for me - I kept thinking of those TV infomercials - "But wait - there's more!"
It did not need to be tied up in such a perfect bow.
If You We're Here
Not my favorite book of Alafair Burke. More like a first novel than one written after ten years of writing. The plot wandered, I could not connect with the main character, seemed she just wanted to make a political statement about the US military. Please, Alafair, stick with Samantha Kincaid and Ellie Hatcher.