Book Review: After Everyone Else
Bailey thought she’d gotten her happy ending. She is married to the man she loves, she has started a family, and her design business is flourishing. But when Bailey’s ex-husband, a famous TV chef, is found murdered with her DNA all over his apartment and body, she is suddenly facing murder charges in a high-profile case. Already burdened by the demands and challenges of marriage, motherhood, and her career, Bailey now must do everything she can to prove her innocence. But it’s the ones she thought would surely be on her side—her enigmatic lawyer and her husband—who might be doubting her innocence the most.
Alternating between the past and present, After Everyone Else chronicles the grip of the past, the challenges of forgiveness, and the resilient love we save for the person we love after everyone else. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
I haven’t read the book that comes before this one–Before Anyone Else–yet not having that prequel knowledge did not detract at all from my reading experience. I knew exactly who the characters were and what was going on at all times, in large part to the before and now sections that are provided, giving the reader plenty of background information from the past that blends in nicely with the present.
Bailey is the quintessential career woman, attempting to balance her livelihood with her family life. I appreciated the inward reflections she has, never really sure if she made the right decisions where her husband and daughter are concerned. This type of uncertainty provides a lot of fuel where the murder charges are concerned. It becomes a case of whodunnit, and you don’t know for quite some time who the murderer really is–it could still be Bae, or her husband, or maybe even her daughter. In the end, the culprit is someone I didn’t expect, so that was a nice surprise. It’s always fun to read a mystery and not have it spelled out for you.
Mixed in are the estranged relationships going on between Bae and her family, along with the turbulence her daughter experiences. As a mother of a teenage son, I couldn’t help but really feel for Bae and what she's going through while trying to help her daughter, but due to their strained relationship, her daughter doesn’t feel it’s authentic or real. There is way too much damage there, giving us a whole other layer of things that goes beyond the murder charges.
Bae is reeling from the past, while her daughter is trying to navigate the present. How are those two scenarios related to Bae’s indictment, and what will happen when the truth is finally revealed? It was an emotional, harrowing revelation. While I may not have read the prequel to After Everyone Else, I have read another of Leslie Hooton’s novels, The Secret of Rainy Days (reviewed here), and I can tell you–both books are fantastic! It was well worth the read.