Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Bestselling author Maynard (The Good Daughters) returns with the story of a broken family rocked by a real-life Bay Area serial killer. Rachel Torricelli and her younger sister, Patty, idolized their father, a homicide detective with a voice like Dino and an insatiable love for women especially his daughters. After divorce split up their home, he mostly disappeared, and Rachel, who recounts the story as an adult (and a mystery writer), was content playing backyard games and bossing Patty around. But their play is tinged with darkness in the summer of 1979, when murders begin occurring along Marin County's hiking trails. The girls' father is on the case and his sudden star power makes Rachel popular, but she can't resist chasing clues (some courtesy of 'visions'), putting her and her sister in harm's way. Maynard captures the way that memory works in fragments: Rachel recalls 'My Sharona' as the soundtrack of the summer, fusing her perspective with that of the killer, who sings it to his victims. Her retelling also flip-flops seamlessly from her teenage anxieties to the front-page news a testament to Maynard's narrative dexterity. This cinematic coming-of-age murder mystery satisfyingly blends suspense with nostalgia. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynards 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 < i=""> At Home in the World <>
“It is a testament to Maynards 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 teens 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
“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
“An affecting portrait of the relationship between a father and his daughters.” Booklist
About the Author
Joyce Maynard has been a reporter for the New York Times, a magazine journalist, a radio commentator, and a syndicated columnist, as well as the author of seven previous novels, including To Die For, Labor Day, and The Good Daughters, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into fourteen languages. Maynard's bestselling novel Labor Day is being adapted for film by Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman and stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Maynard makes her home in Mill Valley, California.