If You Were Here

Alafair Burke. Harper, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-220835-4
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. Agent: Philip Spitzer, the Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-228065-7
Paperback - 546 pages - 978-0-06-227860-9
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-0-06-220836-1
Other - 978-0-06-227236-2
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-220837-8
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