cover image After I’m Gone

After I’m Gone

Laura Lippman, read by Linda Emond. HarperAudio, , unabridged, nine CDs, 10.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-0-06-226525-8

Lippman’s latest crime novel begins as more of a family drama, focusing on shady businessman Felix Brewer. The story opens as Felix flees suburban Maryland to escape the law, leaving behind his wife, Bambi; three daughters; and a mistress, Julie Saxony. When Julie disappears 10 years later, it is assumed that she joined Felix. The whodunit aspect of the narrative kicks in when her skeletal corpse is discovered in one of the city’s favorite body dumps, Leakin Park. Enter Sandy Sanchez, a retired Baltimore police detective who supplements his pension by closing the department’s cold cases, who reopens the investigation of Julia’s death. Emond reads the character-rich story with just the right amount of emotion, catching Bambi’s youthful infatuation, her smug comfort in a seemingly idyllic marriage, and, finally, her disillusionment. The actress is just as effective in portraying Felix’s brash scoundrel’s charm and the various moods of the very different daughters. As for Sandy Sanchez, the guy’s a dogged sleuth who saves his emotion for his work. Emond catches his faux empathy in interviews, his elation in uncovering decades-old clues, and his determination to get the job done. A William Morrow hardcover. (Mar.)