After that last awful “thriller” that I read, I confess I was a little uncertain about Lisa Jackson’s After She’s Gone. After all, this one really is classified as a romance novel. But After She’s Gone was just about everything I wanted The Killing Game to be.
The story begins on the set of a thriller movie. It’s the last day of filming, and they are redoing a scene, but the prop gun is replaced by a real gun, and a stunt double is shot and nearly killed. The actress who was supposed to be in the scene didn’t show up for filming, and no one has seen her since.
Cassie Kramer and her sister Allie (the one who disappeared) are both actresses and they have had a love-hate relationship their whole lives. After Allie disappears, Cassie checks herself into a mental hospital. But a midnight visitor convinces her she is the only one who can find her sister, and Cassie checks herself out.
But as things progress, Cassie is marked as a primary suspect. And when more people in connection with the film end up dead, left with masks of Cassie’s family members, Cassie is afraid for her sanity and her life.
Lisa Jackson did a great job of leading readers on, guiding them toward the conclusion she had in store. I guessed at the who behind the whole thing, but I didn’t know the who behind the who (that doesn’t make sense on its own, but if you read the book it probably will). Though you can tell where the story is going, Jackson has several threads that you follow, each with its own set of mysteries to solve, which keeps the book moving. It allows you to formulate a picture of the ending (may or may not be the right picture), but still keep you guessing on the details, which is the kind of read I like.
As for the romance bit, that wasn’t even an issue. It was obvious from the beginning of the story that the romance part of it was going to be Cassie reigniting the flame with her estranged husband, against her better judgment. Although she did check herself into a psych ward, so her better judgment may not have been so great.
Overall, it was the kind of thriller I actually enjoy reading, not a romance book masquerading as a thriller. I’m very interested in reading more of Jackson’s work, including and especially Deep Freeze, one of her older books wherein the Kramer sisters, as well as their movie star mother, make their debut appearances in Jackson’s writing.
Here’s to hoping some day I get around to it!