cover image The Alaska Sanders Affair

The Alaska Sanders Affair

Joël Dicker, trans. from the French by Robert Bononno. HarperVia, $30 (544p) ISBN 978-0-06-332480-0

Author and sleuth Marcus Goldman returns (after The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair) to help his friend, Sgt. Perry Gahalowood, rectify a decade-old miscarriage of justice in Dicker’s overstuffed latest. In April 1999, a young woman named Alaska Sanders was found dead on the edge of a New Hampshire lake. Soon afterward, a suspect named Walter Carrey was brought in for questioning. He confessed to killing Alaska with his friend, Eric Donovan, and then grabbed a police officer’s gun, shooting both the officer and himself. Gahalowood, who was leading the Sanders investigation at the time, gets a shock when, in 2010, Goldman finds an anonymous note among the possessions of Gahalowood’s late wife insisting that Carrey and Donovan weren’t Alaska’s killers. The discovery launches Goldman and Gahalowood into a new investigation, which dredges up questions about Gahalowood’s deceased spouse and Alaska’s true identity. In addition to juggling timelines and locations—plus a dizzying barrage of red herrings—Dicker spends an inordinate amount of time on Goldman’s inconsequential romantic life, which does little to usher the already-busy story along. By the time Dicker brings this lumbering mystery to a close, readers will be more exhausted than satisfied. (Sept.)