Title: If You Were Here by Alafair Burke
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Journalist McKenna Jordan is chasing the latest urban folktale—the story of an unidentified woman who heroically pulled a teenage boy from the subway tracks seconds before the arrival of an oncoming train. When McKenna locates a video snippet that purportedly captures the incident, she thinks she has an edge on the competition scrambling to identify the mystery heroine.
McKenna is shocked to discover that the woman in the video bears a strong resemblance to Susan Hauptmann, a close friend—and a classmate of her husband’s at West Point—who vanished without a trace ten years earlier. The NYPD concluded that the nomadic Susan—forced by her father into an early military life, floundering as an adult for a fixed identity—simply started over again somewhere else.
But McKenna has always believed the truth went deeper than the police investigation ever reached. What might have been a short-lived Metro story sends her on a twisting search that leads across New York City—and to dark secrets buried dangerously close to home. . . .
If You Were Here is another intriguing mystery by Alafair Burke. This standalone novel has many unexpected twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing not only whodunnit, but why, right up until the novel’s stunning conclusion.
When McKenna Jordan sees the video of the dramatic rescue of a teenage boy from the subway tracks, she is stunned when she recognizes the rescuer as her missing friend, Susan Hauptmann, who vanished ten years ago without a trace. Determined to discover the truth of the woman’s identity, McKenna takes a second look at long ago events and what she uncovers threatens her career, her marriage and ultimately her and her husband’s lives.
McKenna Jordan is likable with all too realistic flaws and imperfections. She is tenacious in her pursuit of the truth about Susan’s original disappearance and her possible reappearance. McKenna is tenacious almost to the point of obsessive as she re-examines old and new evidence. When she uncovers a possible link between an old case she was working on and Susan’s disappearance, McKenna relentlessly pursues old and new leads that lead to shocking revelations.
The plot of If You Were Here is complex and it takes a while for the various story arcs to converge. The storyline is quite interesting but sometimes a little slow moving. Seemingly unrelated events will later prove to be quite significant and by the novel’s end, Alafair Burke beautifully ties everything together.