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Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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 11 - 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.

©2013 Joyce Maynard (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers

What listeners say about After Her

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

Very enjoyable book. It is well read by the author herself. The young characters and their world are very well portrayed.

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  • Krista
  • 17-10-13

Wonderful to listen to, decent story

I enjoyed listening to this book. I especially liked that the author was the reader, which means she read it to me just the way it was written in her head (and her voice was amazing to listen to for that many hours). I also respect how Joyce Maynard develops her characters so fully. I will likely think of Patty every time I see a little girl playing basketball, and Detective Toricelli every time an officer gives a press conference, and I will carry with me the sadness of true love unfinished and broken homes and dreams not fulfilled for awhile. And have nightmares about killers and piano wire and shoestrings and rusted out trucks. The only downside was that there was some repetition due to the robust character development efforts, which sometimes really slowed down the story just when I was getting excited and anxious to know what was going to happen next. I'd have to listen, listen more...wait for it...wait for it... Overall, a decent listen from an accomplished writer.

7 people found this helpful

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  • tooonce72
  • 21-09-13

Endearing and Heartbreaking Sister Bond

A wonderful sister story. These two California girls had what I would have died to have at their age – a tight sibling relationship, a fun dad who drove a hot car and open handed independence. Who would have known that with all that, they still didn’t have the world by a string?

Joyce Maynard writes a strong passionate novel that vividly describes sisters that barely survived the seventies. I gladly rode on their emotional rollercoaster with them through those crazy teenage thoughts, peer pressure and disappointing parents. Woven in is a very clever and captivating detective investigation that had this reader gasping aloud.

I greatly enjoyed After Her and highly recommend it. The summary is accurate. I could not put it away and was sneeking listens. When this book opened up and I realized that Joyce Maynard was narrating her own book I said out loud to myself, “Always a bad decision.” It wasn’t. By the end of this listen I was claiming it a perfect choice.

I'll be singing M M M MY Sharona for days.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-10-13

Haunting and Compelling

Would you listen to After Her again? Why?

Probably not even though I thought it was compelling. Since it's a murder mystery of sorts I wouldn't listen again because the suspense would be gone.

What about Joyce Maynard’s performance did you like?

Excellent reader. One of my favorite books is her autobiography of her time with JD Salinger - don't think it's on audio, though. Such a sad story as she loves her sister and father so much - I think she did a great job of pushing this message through her voice and storytelling.

Any additional comments?

Would have given it five stars except the ending seemed a bit abrupt and too "tidy" - was hoping for something a bit more exciting or suspenseful, but overall great listen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Andrea
  • 27-10-13

Great relationships and characters

Not just a serial killer murder mystery, but very much about family dynamics. I feel that girls/women might identify more with this book as it involves the relationship of two sisters and the relationship with their father.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gailgo
  • 03-05-14

Very Enjoyable!

What did you love best about After Her?

I really liked the character development - I felt as if I knew and definitely cared about them. The relationship development between the two sisters was excellent.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not really on the edge of the seat plot - not a super thriller. There are some books that you can actually leave the room for a couple of minutes and not really miss much. This book ISN'T one of those - there isn't a lot of meaningless filler and I wouldn't have wanted to leave the room without putting the book on pause.

Have you listened to any of Joyce Maynard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't listed to her books, but I will definitely look at the others she's written.

Any additional comments?

I'm glad I picked this book - hopefully you will too :-)

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nana
  • 16-10-13

Well written and narrated

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, it wasn't predictable and the end brought a strange awareness I hadn't realized had happened.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Perception is Reality

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • 20-05-14

How can a book with a serial killer be so boring?

This book is more about the dysfunctional family of the adolescent narrator than the killer, although the killings provide a constant sense of dread and concern about the detective father's inability to nab the guy. If the work were a memoir, I could forgive the repetitive and uncomfortable exposition on her period and unenthusiastic sexual forays and the details of the unremarkable games she plays with her younger sister. But since it's fiction couldn't it be a little more interesting?
Maynard's craft is excellent; too bad the content is so dull and depressing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kathy
  • 01-11-13

CAPTIVATING STORY

What did you love best about After Her?

The reader (the author) and the family story. Joyce Maynard is a writer definitely worth the time.

What other book might you compare After Her to and why?

I don't usually read or listen to books about the gruesome topic in this book but the family story is transformative and the reader (author) is excellent. I look forward to more of
Joyce Maynard's readings...and moreover her writing!!!

Have you listened to any of Joyce Maynard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The flow of the story is moving....no giving away the surprises along the way.

Any additional comments?

This book kept me on the trail during many miles of walking!

4 people found this helpful

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  • RueRue
  • 30-01-15

A bond between sisters

I really enjoyed this story, and was impressed by the excellent reading by the author. ( I usually avoid author-read audio ). A very touching story of family, crime, but mostly the bond between two sisters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • linda
  • 23-01-14

I have three questions, OK four.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

If you listen to this book please let me know....
1. Did her father like women?
2. Did she and her sister play outside a lot?
3. Did she ever start her period?

Any additional comments?

Good grief! Was this written by a high school student?

Just wondering

2 people found this helpful