Alex Dahl is a name new to crimeworm…but this is in fact the THIRD book in this series!
Yes indeedy – and here’s the thing…..it’s really bloody good! I mean, totally engrossing! August is turning out to be a very expensive month, book-wise, because I’ve reviewed lots of books that are already a few into a series, and I’ve loved them, and had to put their predecessors on that list marked, “Books Wanted,” that I hide on my phone away from my prying partner’s eyes. (This is because the thought of me buying more books would probably end in my murder. I’m just letting you guys know, in case I disappear…) Anyway, we had this same conversation in the last review…so, enough said. Onwards, to the book.
O-kay. Now we’ve got your blethering out of the way, tell us a bit about the book, as that’s why we’re here…
This book essentially concerns three women, whose stories interlink in the book. First of all, there’s Liv, who lives a very quiet, almost hermit-like existence in the small town of Sandefjord, Norway. Her life revolves around her son, Adrian, who’s on the spectrum and uses elective mutism all the time, and is obsessive when it comes to aeroplanes. The two are devoted to each other, to the exclusion of others. One night, Liv disappears, as does Adrian. The police are not too concerned – there’s no sign of violence, and they have little to go on. It looks as though Liv has simply decided to move on
One person who is concerned is Norwegian journalist, Selma. She’s recently written a big expose of powerful men using their positions and money to abuse young, naive models from small towns – girls who’d led sheltered lives and were easily awestruck by the wealth, designer clothes, and endless champagne. To them, it’s a whole different, new world, and the last thing they want to do is return home in disgrace, having messed up what they regard as the only chance they’ll ever have to escape poverty – and, crucially, to help their families escape it, too. They’re easy pickings for a group of powerful men who encircle new models like vultures. Due, Selma believes, to the power these men exert, her story has been spiked, to her fury. When she learns more about Liv’s past, she believes she may also have been preyed upon by these men.
Finally, there’s Anastasia. Plucked from obscurity in a small Russian town, she finds herself in Milan, attending castings, meeting the glamorous sophisticated people who populate the fashion industry. Chosen to be the face of a new campaign, she’s flown to the Maldives…and that’s when the scales fall from her eyes. She realises it’s not a dream she’s landed in, but something more akin to a nightmare.
So these three women’s stories intertwine in this book?
They do indeed – and it’s a very timely story, in the post-#MeToo era, when women from all over the world are standing up and saying, “Enough is enough.”
But the men in this story are incredibly rich and powerful – and they’re also ruthless, too. How can you bring someone down…if you’re not around to talk any more…?
Another enjoyable read then?
Absolutely; very much so. Head of Zeus have always been one of my favourite imprints, and they’re getting better and better. The short chapters in this book ensure the story races along, and the main characters are likeable, believable, and have you rooting for them from start to finish – Alex Dahl’s past career as a model gives the chapters on modelling added authenticity. Yet again it looks like I’m going to have to invest in an author’s backlist! I really flew through this story, getting irritated whenever I was interrupted and had to put the book down, or when it got ridiculously late (pretty much every night…)
I’d suggest that, if you’re not familiar with Alex Dahl’s name yet, remember it, as she’s got an innate understanding of what turns a book into a real pageturner, which can then, with the right promotion, become a bestseller. I confidently predict she’s going to be stratospheric.
One of the best books I’ve read this year – and it’s been a stellar year so far!
With thanks to Sophie Ransom at Ransom PR for the invitation to participate in this Blog Tour, and to Head Of Zeus for the ARC. This in no way affected my opinion, and this is an honest review.
Author Alex Dahl
Why not check out what some of the other superb bloggers on this tour thought of After She’d Gone, and whether they’d loved it as much as I did?
BLURB: Unsettling, gripping and glamorous. A timely psychological thriller about the danger of beauty, the lure of power, and the fierce love of a mother for her son.
Liv keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway: she’s just another tired single mother, trying to make ends meet. She has never told her son about the secrets she carries or the life she lived before he was born. She will do anything to keep him safe.
Anastasia’s life is transformed when she moves from Russia to Milan to work as a model. She’s rich. She’s desired. But there’s a dark side to the high-pressure catwalk shows; the sun-baked Italian palazzos; the drink-fuelled after-parties hosted by powerful men. Soon, she will do anything to escape.
Selma is a journalist in Oslo. She’s investigating scandals in the modelling industry, but can’t get her article published. Then a woman goes missing in Sandefjord. Now Selma is about to uncover the biggest story of her life…