Laura Lippman is one of my “go-to” authors–someone I read when I’m not in the mood to take a risk, but just want to settle in with a good book that I know I’ll enjoy. Her standalone novels are always about how a crime can twist otherwise ordinary lives. So I knew when I started AFTER I”M GONE that it wouldn’t be a whodunnit or a “snatched by a serial killer” breathless suspense book. Nevertheless, I was still disappointed by the pace of this novel. There is very little sense of urgency in the investigation of who killed Julie, the girlfriend of a gangster who disappeared rather than face prison. Julie’s friends and relatives don’t seem to care much. The investigating detective works on cold cases to keep himself busy in retirement and treats this case as if it were a big NYTimes crossword puzzle–challenging, but not urgent. The wife and three daughters of the gangster bear Julie an understandable grudge, but the four of them are just SO dull that it’s hard to care what they think or do. Julie and the gangster are the most interesting characters, but they are off-screen after the first 50 pages of the book. In the Afterward, Lippman says the idea for the book was suggested by her husband. Personally, I never take any advice from my husband. Perhaps Lippman shouldn’t either.