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After Her: A Novel (P.S.) [Kindle Edition]

Joyce Maynard
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.78
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and The Good Daughters returns with a haunting novel of sisterhood, sacrifice, and suspense.

I was always looking for excitement, until I found some . . .

Summer, 1979. A dry, hot Northern California school vacation stretches before Rachel and her younger sister, Patty—the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective father and the mother whose heart he broke.

When we first meet her, Patty is eleven—a gangly kid who loves basketball and dogs and would do anything for her older sister, Rachel. Rachel is obsessed with making up stories and believes she possesses the gift of knowing what's in the minds of people around her. She has visions, whether she wants to or not. Left to their own devices, the sisters spend their days studying record jackets, concocting elaborate fantasies about the mysterious neighbor who moved in down the street, and playing dangerous games on the mountain that looms behind their house.

When young women start turning up dead on the mountain, the girls' father is put in charge of finding the murderer known as the "Sunset Strangler." Watching her father's life slowly unravel as months pass and more women are killed, Rachel embarks on her most dangerous game yet . . . using herself as bait to catch the killer. But rather than cracking the case, the consequences of Rachel's actions will destroy her father's career and alter forever the lives of everyone she loves.

Thirty years later, still haunted by the belief that the killer remains at large, Rachel constructs a new strategy to smoke out the Sunset Strangler and vindicate her father—a plan that unexpectedly unearths a long-buried family secret.

Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case that terrorized Marin County, California, in the late 1970s, After Her is part thriller, part love story. Maynard has created a poignant, suspenseful, and painfully real family saga that traces a young girl's first explorations of sexuality, the loss of innocence, the bond shared by sisters, and the tender but damaged relationship between a girl and her father that endures even beyond the grave.



Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the summer of 1979, the Torricelli sisters, aspiring writer Rachel and her athletic younger sister, Patty, enjoy unlimited freedom exploring the mountain behind their home in Marin County, California. Their father is a charismatic detective for the San Francisco Police Department who has been chronically unfaithful to his wife, which has led to their divorce. Their emotionally fragile mother is severely depressed and spends a lot of time in her bedroom. The sisters amuse themselves by watching television through their neighbors’ picture windows (providing their own dialogue). But their suburban life is upended when a serial killer starts leaving the bodies of young girls all over the trails of their beloved mountain. Their father, who loved to make his own pasta and belt out Dean Martin songs, is greatly diminished over the many years he devotes to trying to find the vicious killer. The plot of Maynard’s eighth novel, although based on the story of the real-life Trailside Killer, strains credulity at times; it is less a thriller than an affecting portrait of the relationship between a father and his daughters. --Joanne Wilkinson

Review

“[Maynard] weav(es) a knotty tale of family secrets, told in the alternating voices of her likable main characters.” (Entertainment Weekly on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

The Good Daughters shows Maynard’s strengths once again—particularly in vivid descriptions of farm life, geographies, and relationships of all kinds. Passions and psychological changes in a character over time ring most true.” (Providence Journal)

“Absorbing.” (More Magazine on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“An evocative story . . . [Maynard] consistently brings emotional authenticity to the long arc of her characters’ lives and to the joy and loss they experience. A profoundly moving chronicle of the primacy of family connection.” (Booklist on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“An impressive writer...with a fine sense of time, of place, of humor.” (Buffalo News on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“Exquisite . . . . [A] beautifully written book.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on THE GOOD DAUGTHERS)

“In addition to being a beautiful and engaging story, Maynard deftly captures Dana’s struggle to come to terms with her sexuality in the midst of her family’s instability. And her relationship with Clarice is one of the strongest in the novel. Highly recommended. ” (AfterEllen.com on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“Maynard is a clever storyteller.” (Seattle Times on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“Maynard’s spare prose packs a rich emotional punch...a can’t put-it-down mystery.” (People on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“Vividly rendered.” (Tampa Tribune on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS)

“[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynard’s reputation as a master storyteller and showing her to be a passionate humanist with a gifted ear and heart. . . . Maynard illuminates the human experience.” (People (Four Stars))

“an uplifting story told by a boy who is just beginning to understand what life is all about.” (St. Petersburg Times)

Labor Day is suffused with tenderness, dreaminess and love....first and foremost a page-turner...[it] puts back together the world that it destroys....you definitely need to get a box of tissues.” (Newsday)

“Dazzling.” (Jules Siegel, San Francisco Chronicle on At Home in the World)

“It is a testament to Maynard’s skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale.” (Washington Post)

“Part family reminiscence, part girl detective story, After Her combines the intimacy of one teen’s coming-of-age with the suspense of a serial killer mystery. With warmth and redeeming humor, Joyce Maynard delivers the terror and confusion of adolescence.” (Stewart O'Nan, author of Snow Angels and The Speed Queen)

“Joyce Maynard’s latest novel, After Her, is a suspenseful page-turning mystery, but even more compelling is her memorable portrait of a thirteen-year-old girl and the complicated world she shares with her sister; the intricate details of their life are sometimes hilarious, often heartbreaking, and always endearing.” (Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life on AFTER HER)

“Passionate, profound, and as stunning as a sparking live wire coming slowly and irrevocably toward you, Maynard’s latest is nothing short of a masterpiece.” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow)

“Though you will be tempted, try not to turn the pages of this complex thriller too fast: you will miss a tender elegy, an evocative coming-of-age story, and a tribute to the enduring bonds of sisterhood.” (Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love on AFTER HER)

“An affecting portrait of the relationship between a father and his daughters.” (Booklist on AFTER HER)

“Maynard writes great characters and craft a story that will not let you go.” (Bookreporter.com on AFTER HER)

“[F]ar from a simple whodunit... [Maynard] deftly conveys that we are never truly safe, but that we can’t let fear stand in the way of our becoming who we want to be.” (Real Simple on AFTER HER)

“Veteran novelist Joyce Maynard has returned with a coming of age story woven into a serial killer investigation that is both evocative and captivating.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer on AFTER HER)

“Loosely based on the “Trailside Killer” slayings of the 1970s, the story jumps from history into a many-layered exploration of sibling bonds and innocence.” (San Jose Mercury News on AFTER HER)

After Her is a masterful piece of storytelling with bits of humor to offset the suspenseful emotions.” (Shelf Awareness on AFTER HER)

“After Her is an excellent novel, dealing deftly and tenderly with a young girl’s coming of age and loss of innocence, presenting us with characters as great and as flawed as the people we see every day. Here we have a great author writing at the top of her form.” (5MinutesforMom.com on AFTER HER)

Product Details

  • File Size: 788 KB
  • Print Length: 491 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (August 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BATNLBA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,101 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While this novel has been described as a combination of murder mystery and coming-of-age tale, I found it to be primarily a look into family dynamics, especially the relationship between two teen sisters, Rachel and Patty.

Although there is a killer targeting young women in Marin County, I felt that the ongoing series of murders never took center stage. Instead, the sisters' enduring connection shone most brightly. In childhood, they seemed almost joined at the the hip. Inevitably, they had to forge their own identities, with some tense and rocky moments along the way. But ultimately the bond held.

The murders in this novel are loosely based on those of a real-life serial killer, nicknamed the Trailside Killer. Maynard was inspired to write this novel after meeting two sisters whose father had been head of Marin Country Homicide when the Trailside Killer was at large. They were generous enough to share not only the details of the murder investigation with Maynard but also those of their childhood in Marin Country. Perhaps that is why both Anthony Torricelli, the fictional detective in After Her, and the life of his family in the late 1970s, seems so believable.

A "heads up" for potential readers: while there are indeed descriptions (but not very graphic) of women stalked and murdered by a serial killer - and the desperate hunt to catch that killer - those expecting a breakneck series of suspenseful events are likely to be disappointed. Yes, there are two pivotal and violent events which are riveting. But while reading most of the book, I felt the murders took a lesser role to the relationship between Rachel, her sister and their parents.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Girl Who Cried Wolf August 10, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In Joyce Maynard's new novel, "After Her", first person narrator Rachel Torricelli recounts the "tween" life she and her younger sister, Patty, share just north of San Francisco, with their divorced and distant mother and their pop-in-and-out father, Tony, a Marin County detective. Rachel and Patty are precocious yet innocent loners who find interesting and inventive ways to entertain themselves since their mother can't afford TV. At the beginning of the summer of 1979 several young women are murdered on the mountain right behind their home; the mountain that they regularly play on. Their father is the detective on the case and they want to help him catch the murderer; Rachel has a plan.

Maynard does a wonderful job of telling the story from the point of view of a young girl during that strange and confusing time between childhood and womanhood. Her setting of the 70s is wonderfully evocative of so much that I remember of that time; music from The Carpenters to Led Zeppelin, movies, clothes (designer jeans were just coming on market), TV shows, 8-tracks, early VCRs; the song "My Sharona" proves chillingly apt.

In the middle of the novel the story started to drag and become repetitive and I almost stopped. I'm glad I didn't though, because it soon picked up the pace and twists I had not foreseen were revealed.

Though this is about a young girl, I would not recommend it for a juvenile audience as there are detailed descriptions of rape, murder and sex that I would deem inappropriate for younger readers.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book! August 23, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Loved this book!
Joyce Maynard has a gift for smoothly combining genres, a rare gift indeed. After Her is the story of the relationship between two young sisters and their often absent police detective father, whom they idolize. Told from the main character's adult perspective of looking back at the time when her Marin County town was in the grips of a serial killer, this book offers the reader the best of both worlds -- a compelling story of love and loyalty and a suspenseful mystery that will keep you guessing until the last page.
I bought this book to take on my vacation, but finished it before I'd even started packing - it's that good!
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58 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drawn-out, Repetitive, Boring July 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This could have been a tolerable 20-page short story, yet it was dragged out to make an incredibly boring 350+-page novel. The writer seems to have been copy-pasting expressions, sentences, paragraphs and even entire scenes time and again just to fill up space. And the scenes that get repeated dozens of times are extremely trivial.

Just to give a couple of examples, we hear time after boring time that Rachel finds hanging out with Alison boring compared to spending time with her sister. And then we hear it again. And again. This is obviously not a hugely complex idea, so I don't know why the author decided to hammer it in so many times. The narrator worries that she isn't getting her period. And worries. And worries some more. In the exact same words, she reiterates her worry dozens of times. And what do you think happens eventually? Yes, she gets her period. Which was as easy to predict as absolutely everything else in this mind-numbingly boring joke of a novel.

The character development in AFTER HER is non-existent. At 43, Rachel is exactly as she was at 13. Thirty years passed by without helping her gain any intelligence or even a modicum of self-awareness. For somebody so obsessed with narrating the most trivial details of her family history, Rachel is signally incapable of analyzing what happens in that family or why.

The so-called mystery that organizes the boring plot of this miserable excuse of a novel is based on one improbability after another. Nothing makes sense, and if you are hoping for some big revelation in the end, then stop. The ending is just as mundane, boring and repetitive as the rest of the book.

I considered dropping this novel many times but I just needed to make absolutely sure that I wasn't being unfair to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Moral: Never expect resolution
This was pretty well written, good use of language and sucks you in... but I was really unsatisfied. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Krissy B.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This was my first time reading a book by this author. The story dragged a bit in the middle, but picked up again and was enjoyable overall.
Published 26 days ago by Scar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really like this book!
Published 1 month ago by Babs
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One!
I couldn't put this book down! It built up gradually, but it kept me reading and wanting more from this author.
Published 1 month ago by Concerned Consumer
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
boring story of a teenage girl who is full of herself and not very interesting. The novel only became interesting in the end, when she was grown up.
Published 1 month ago by cathy netz
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Beautifully written engaging story.
Published 1 month ago by Christie Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars thrilling
I don't have much time to read. I work a lot of overtime, and I'm working on my master's degree, and have way too much homework. Read more
Published 2 months ago by jerz13
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really enjoyed this book. Great character development.
Published 2 months ago by Lisa A. Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars This will be a movie one day.... read it now!
Joyce Maynard is an amazing writer. She made me feel like I was IN the story. I love her style!
Published 2 months ago by Debbi Henderson
3.0 out of 5 stars however it was a good story. It's worth reading I think
For me just a little bit too long, however it was a good story. It's worth reading I think.
Published 3 months ago by ElkRiver
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More About the Author

I've been a writer all my life. Over those years, I've worked as a newspaper reporter, columnist, radio commentator (I was Liberal-of-the-Day on CBS radio at the age of 19, on a show called Spectrum) . For eight years, I published a syndicated column about my life called "Domestic Affairs", but when my life got increasingly complicated (I got divorced) and my children grew to the age where it was no longer a good idea to write about them, I ended the column and turned to writing fiction. One of my novels, To Die For, was made into a terrific movie, directed by Gus van Sant , in which I can be seen in the role of Nicole Kidman's lawyer.

My memoir, At Home in the World, published in 1998, engendered a fair amount of controversy at the time of its publication --still does, in some quarters, because I chose to write about events in my life that involved a famous and revered older author, J.D. Salinger, who had decreed that I should never speak of him. This past September a new edition of At Home in the World was brought out, with a new introduction (and for the first time, I recorded the audio book of that one.) It's a story I hope will speak to many , but particularly to women.

In recent years, I've published four more novels--The Usual Rules , The Cloud Chamber, Labor Day, The Good Daughters and my latest, After Her. (A number of my older books , including a collection of my newspaper columns and my first novel, Baby Love, are available on e-book now too), as well as a number of essays that can be found in various collections. (Read over the titles--aging, divorce, anorexia, miscarriage, disastrous midlife dating--and you may get a picture of my life, I suppose, though a number of the more cheerful aspects --more enjoyable to live through, but less good as material--would be missing.

Labor Day has been made into a film, directed by Jason Reitman , and starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. If you like the novel, I think you'll be happy with the film. I certainly am.

You can learn more about my work, and my tour schedule (also my writing workshops on Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala) on my website, www.joycemaynard.com

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