A Book Spy Review: ‘After Anna’ by Lisa Scottoline

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After AnnaScottoline’s latest standalone thriller deals with grief and family issues, topics everyone can relate to. 

Maggie Ippoliti was once happily married to Florian Desroches, a tech guru, and the two had a daughter together named Anna. Their marriage and happy life were cut short when the couple divorced, and Maggie, dealing with psychological issues, lost custody of her baby girl when she was only a few months old. 

Seventeen years later, Maggie is finally happy again. She’s now married to Noah Alderman, a well-respected pediatric allergist, and lives with him and his son. Again, for the second time in two decades, her life is unexpectedly shaken up when Anna, who she hasn’t seen or spoken to since leaving all those years ago, calls her from boarding school to inform her that her father and his new wife and kids all died in a plane crash.

With no one else to turn to, Anna asks Maggie if she can come live with her — and Maggie, overjoyed to hear from her daughter, cannot say yes fast enough. But what begins as a dream to reconnect with her long-lost daughter soon turns into an unbelievable nightmare. 

Anna, it turns out, is a defiant teenager who manipulates those around her. Her triumphant return upsets Noah, who is frustrated that Maggie is willing to overlook her daughter’s bad attitude and actions, in an effort to bond with the seventeen-year-old. It doesn’t take long for Anna to come between Maggie and Noah, especially after she complains to her mother that Noah has been coming onto her sexually. A short while later, Anna is found dead, and Noah becomes the prime suspect in her murder.

Though he’s adamant he’s not guilty, Noah is arrested and charged. . . and even Maggie turns on him, fully believing he killed her daughter. But as the story unfolds, Maggie starts talking to people from Anna’s past and private life, uncovering enough troubling evidence to suggest that there’s more going on than she ever imagined. 

Scottoline has had a long and storied career for a reason, and she remains one of the finest mystery-thriller writers on the planet. Her ability to speak to issues that are both current and relatable is what makes her unique, and After Anna perfectly captures the truth behind people’s penchant to let love cloud their judgment. It’s easy to overlook shortcomings and flaws in the name of love, but sometimes, like in Maggie’s case here, it only leads to pain and heartbreak. . . and one heck of a mystery. 

Emotional, gripping, and filled with nail-biting suspense, After Anna is another winner from veteran thrill master Lisa Scottoline. 

Book Details

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 125009965X
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck is the editor-in-chief of The Real Book Spy, and one of the thriller genre’s most well-recognized critics. He currently lives in southwest Michigan with his wife and their five children. For more information, make sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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