J.R.'s Reviews > Long Gone

Long Gone by Alafair Burke
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May 19, 11

bookshelves: thrillers
Read in May, 2011

Out of work for too long a period and unwilling to continue accepting help from her father, a famous director, Alice Humphrey jumps at the chance for a dream job managing a new art gallery.

Drew Campbell, her benefactor is a smooth-talker who claims to represent an eccentric client who chooses to remain anonymous. The only catch in the offer is the gallery opening must feature a solo exhibit for a photographer alleged to be the owner’s current lover.

Despite reservations expressed by Lily, her best friend, Alice accepts the job and the opening appears to be a huge success, though the star artist’s work proves distasteful and he keeps his identity as much a mystery as that of the owner.

Following the opening, the gallery comes under siege by protesters who claim some of the photographs on display contain pornographic images of young children. When she finally is able to contact Campbell, he asks her to meet him the next morning at the gallery.

When she arrives, Alice finds Campbell dead and the gallery stripped bare. Soon after, she finds herself the main suspect in the murder and plunged into a maelstrom including secrets connecting the gallery to her father, her lapsed addict brother concealing details from her, the fingerprints of a missing teenager in the gallery and difficulty in knowing who to trust.

Burke is treading new ground in this her first standalone thriller. It’s a skillfully drawn work with realistic characters and sense of place, excellent dialogue and fast-paced action—all characteristic of the talent she’s exhibited in the past. Fans of her procedural series shouldn’t be disappointed by this departure into new territory. I know I wasn’t.
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