Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: After Anna

Summary: Riveting and disquieting, After Anna is a groundbreaking domestic thriller, as well as a novel of emotional justice and legal intrigue. New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline keeps readers on their toes until the final shocking page.

Nobody cuts deeper than family...

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she'd lost forever, her only daughter Anna.

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.

Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna's murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined. -- St. Martin's Press

Throughout the years, I've read quite a few novels by Lisa Scottoline. While I enjoy her humorous essay collections, I always look forward to her mysteries. Her latest one is titled AFTER ANNA, and it's a terrific suspense-filled family drama. I've been having a hard time finding time to read, but this was exactly what I needed!

AFTER ANNA tells the story Dr. Noah Alderman and his wife Maggie Ippolitti. Noah is a successful pediatric allergist, a father to a young son, and a widower whose life took a turn for the better when he met Maggie. Together, these three made a happy family... until Maggie's daughter entered their lives.

Maggie lost custody of her daughter Anna when she was only six months old. She never thought she'd see her again, but seventeen years later, Anna contacts her out of the blue. After a brief meeting, Maggie and Anna decide that Anna should leave her prestigious boarding school and move in with Maggie and Noah. And that's where the story gets interesting.

Anna is a beautiful, but manipulative, young woman who threatens Maggie and Noah's marriage. Maggie is full of guilt for not being part of her daughter's life, and she is hesitant to question Anna. That comes at the expense of her marriage and, ultimately, Noah's life. When Noah finds Anna dead at his house, he quickly becomes the main suspect.

Maggie is absolutely devastated for losing Anna so soon after having her back in her life and discovering that her husband might be responsible. It isn't until a strange call comes from Anna's therapist that Maggie starts thinking there might be more to Anna's story. What Maggie learns is both shocking and devastating to her family!

I really enjoyed AFTER ANNA. Of course, I didn't really expect anything less from Ms. Scottoline. She crafted a well written thriller with plenty of tension and drama... and even better, the book had a satisfying ending. I definitely think fans of Ms. Scottoline won't want to miss her latest novel.

I especially appreciated how the story was told. The book alternated between the chapters that occurred both "before" and "after" Anna through the eyes of Maggie and Noah. I enjoyed how the story unfolded with the flashbacks. The back and forth nature of the events helped build tension for the reader, and I thought it was extremely well done.

Finally, I was really happy with the conclusion to this story. The story had a pretty good pace throughout, but the tension really ratcheted up for the ending. There were a few twists (one major one!) that I didn't see coming, and I liked that I was surprised by a few of the characters and their actions. All in all, a highly readable novel!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

It's been a while since I've read one of her mysteries. It sounds like she hasn't lost her touch.

The Book Sage said...

I'm seeing a lot of buzz about this book. I still have not read a Scottoline.