IF YOU WERE HERE by Alafair Burke


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Burke opts for a different spin on the thrillers she usually produces, featuring a new heroine, former assistant district attorney turned journalist McKenna Jordan

McKenna is in a pretty nice place these days: She has a handsome former West Pointer for a husband, a great job as a feature writer for a New York–based magazine and hints of a book deal based on a story she wrote. All she has to do is decide what story to write for the magazine’s next issue, which she soon accomplishes by tapping out a complicated 4,000-word investigative piece in a mere two hours. But McKenna has baggage, and every once in a while, it comes back to haunt her. A few years ago, as a former assistant district attorney, she prosecuted a case in which a police officer killed a kid who was armed. After researching the weapon, she uncovered evidence that it should have been destroyed years prior; her revelations set off a controversy that torpedoed her legal career and led to her new one as a journalist. Now, it looks like she’s embarking on another story that could also have life-changing effects. That story involves a woman that both McKenna and her husband, Patrick, have known for years. Susan Hauptmann, a West Pointer herself, mysteriously disappeared a decade ago, but when McKenna spots a woman who closely resembles Susan in a shaky video taken in a subway, she jumps on the trail. Soon she is up to her neck in subterfuge and lies, and she starts wondering if even the people to whom she’s closest are telling her the truth. While the first half of the book builds reader anticipation, the second half bogs down in a hopelessly complicated plot that harbors false ending after false ending.

A frustrating read with too many West Point facts and an ending that just won’t end.

Pub Date: June 4th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-220835-4
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2013


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