In Alafair Burke’s gripping new release, “Find Me,” what appears to be the biggest mystery from the start ends up not being as important as the many other questions and problems that arise over the course of this well-written, engaging novel. We meet Hope Miller, someone who lost her memory after a horrific car accident fifteen years previously. She still has not regained her memory, but thanks to her close friendship with Lindsay Kelly, who is now a defense lawyer, she has had a safe place to live and work in the town of Hopewell, New Jersey, where Lindsay’s father was the chief of police.
But now we learn that Hope has left the sanctuary of that small town, where everyone knew her and no questions were asked about her past. She decided to move to the coast, to a small town near the Hamptons, in spite of Lindsay’s fears about her safety. And Lindsay’s fears are realized when we read about Hope’s encounter with someone who appears dangerous, someone who might be a ghost from her past. And then Hope is gone, and the only evidence left is some blood residue on the floor. Because Lindsay insists that Hope would not just run away, the blood is tested, and it’s a match for blood found at the scene of a crime decades before and miles away in Wichita, Kansas. Blood that was found at the home of someone murdered by a serial killer.
One task readers will need to keep on top of is keeping track of all the characters. It seems a bit daunting at first. While Lindsay is, in many ways, the main character, Hope is an important character as well. We also meet Ellie Hatcher, an NYPD homicide detective, whose father was one of the lead investigators of the Wichita serial killer case. That case has haunted her, and she has steadfastly refused to believe that her father, whose death was ruled a suicide, actually killed himself. Rather, she has always suspected that he was killed by someone connected to that case, a case that didn’t get solved until after his death. A case that he would not let go.
The mystery seems confusing at times because there are so many pieces that Burke keeps suspended in the air like a magician doing a juggling act with people and crimes instead of bowling pins. But stick with it—the confusion is purposeful. It will all become clear, and brilliantly so. For Burke is guilty of a bit of misdirection herself as she presents conclusions that we all too trustingly believe. And while she does also present us with evidence of a likely suspect for one of the crimes, there are plenty of other crimes to solve, and plenty of suspects. Deviously, and Burke is a devious, devious writer, she leaves one twist to the very end.
Please note: This review first appeared in Bookreporter.com.