“After a layoff and months of struggling, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. According to Drew Campbell, the well-suited corporate representative who hires her, the gallery is a passion project for its anonymous, wealthy, and eccentric owner. Drew assures Alice that the owner will be hands off, allowing her to run the gallery on her own. Her friends think it sounds too good to be true, but Alice sees a perfect opportunity to make a name for herself beyond the shadow of her famous father, an award-winning and controversial film maker.
Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the gallery gone—the space stripped bare as if it had never existed—and Drew Campbell’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of police attention with nothing to prove her innocence. The phone number Drew gave her links back to a disposable phone.
The artist whose work she displayed doesn’t seem to exist. And the dead man she claims is Drew has been identified as someone else. When police discover ties between the gallery and a missing girl, Alice knows she’s been set up. Now she has to prove it—a dangerous search for answers that will entangle her in a dark, high-tech criminal conspiracy and force her to unearth long-hidden secrets involving her own family… secrets that could cost Alice her life.”
-Synopsis from back of the book
It’s been a year since I won a copy of The Better Sister by Alafair Burke in a Goodreads giveaway, and since then I seem to have taken to reading her books backwards, all while catching up on the Under Suspicion series she co-wrote with Mary Higgins Clark.
I’ve been slowly working my way through her earlier books and Long Gone just so happens to be her first standalone novel. The synopsis got me immediately. I love a too-good-to-be-true storyline.
Alice comes from a wealthy family but has recently tried to distance herself from her parents (and their money), so getting this job at an art gallery is huge for her. You can really get a sense of her excitement about having regular employment, a place to go every day where she can serve a purpose, not to mention a paycheck. It would be jarring for anyone to come in to work and find the person who hired you dead on the floor, but for Alice’s situation it’s almost not a surprise at all considering how shady everything was from the get-go. Her friends come to her rescue, with one saying she should follow up with police and the other telling her she’s better off not being involved in what just happened, that she should consider herself lucky. But of course everything unravels from there.
There were a few moments when I was annoyed with Alice for revealing so much information to every single person in her life, specifically her dad and Arthur. Maybe it’s just me but if I was being framed the way Alice was and I didn’t know who to trust, I would automatically assume that everyone was a suspect. However, this added to the suspense because as the story comes to a close we know that someone close to Alice orchestrated this whole thing, only we don’t know who.
There were some good twists at the end. I wish there had been more with Lily somehow, maybe less with Arthur, but the way everything ultimately came together made sense. There were several moments I was sure as to what would happen, and then I would immediately be proven wrong, so I was guessing about things until pretty much the final pages.
Despite those two character deaths, which I wish hadn’t happened but ultimately, realistically they made sense, there was a “happy ending” for Alice that I thought wrapped up the story nicely. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a good thriller to get lost in.
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