Book Review: If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

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Rating: 3.5 / 5

McKenna Jordan is slowly trying to piece together a respectable career as a journalist.  Ten years ago, she was an up and coming ADA, but rushed to judgment too quickly, which ended up costing her legal career, as well as the career of the police officer she accused of corruption.  Jordan is reporting on a local story of a woman who saves a teenager on the subway tracks in Manhattan, and as she views the cell phone footage of the incident, she realizes that the woman is likely her friend, Susan, who mysteriously disappeared a decade ago.  Nobody believes her, and with her credibility shot, Jordan decides to investigate on her own the identity of the mystery woman. 

If You Were Here is a decent mystery with a compelling, if not likable main character.  McKenna Jordan is ambitious and smart, but is also flawed.  She has the stereotypical Type A personality with impatience to match, but it seems like she’s struggled to learn from her past mistakes.  At the beginning, it seems like McKenna and Susan were best friends, but as the novel unfolds, the reader learns that although they were close, McKenna took Susan’s disappearance much harder than most people imagined.

I did keep turning the pages because I wanted to see if McKenna was imagining that the subway heroine was her old roommate or if it was really Susan, suddenly reappearing after ten years.  If You Were Here is fast paced and one that you’d normally expect with suspense and mystery novels, but towards the end it felt rushed; it seemed like all of a sudden McKenna was putting puzzle pieces together out of the blue. Overall though, If You Were Here was enjoyable and should satisfy readers who want a quick page turner.

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