Part thriller and part love story, After Her touched me in so many ways. Written in first person from Rachel Torricelli's POV, this story is basically about her relationship with her younger sister, Patty, and their detective father who is put in charge of finding the "Sunset Strangler", who had murdered so many young women on the mountain behind their home. Detective Anthony Torricelli, their handsome, charismatic father is known to have a way with dealing with criminals and getting them to confess, but this case leaves him wondering if he is way behind his prime.
Rachel and Patty adore their father, despite he had left home when Rachel is eight, leaving their mother depressed and in a state of financial deprivation. Their father still stay in touch with them occasionally, but with the Sunset Strangler case still remains unsolved, the chance of seeing their father is getting lesser and lesser.
Rachel and Patty are both smart children, but they don't have many friends in school. Thus, this makes them even closer and they will confide in each other, even if it is a small thing. One would think that they have a lot in common, but in fact Rachel is a girl who has lots of creative imaginations while Patty is the more active and daring one. She is not afraid of speaking her mind and she also has a soft spot for dogs. Now with their father leading the murder case and has appeared on television for countless times, Rachel suddenly finds herself popular in school. Slowly, she finds herself drifting away from Patty and while Patty feels the difference in her older sister, she didn't blame her though she misses her company. It is at this time that Patty focuses her attention on basketball and she has became so good with it that she began to play for their school.
While Rachel enjoys the popularity in school, she is troubled to find her father getting skinnier and skinnier as the case drags on and more young women are murdered. With her imagination and her "vision" which enables her to foresee stuff (though most of them are not always clear and straightforward), she decides on a plan which involving setting herself up as a bait for the killer. In the end, her act has labelled her as being untrustworthiness in other people's eyes and worst of all, it jeopardised her father's career.
Thirty years later, Rachel reflects on that past which still gnaws at her conscience, as that case remains unsolved. With a wrong man behind bars and the killer still at large, Rachel begins to construct a plan to lure the Sunset Strangler and vindicate her father. But this time around, her status is different considering she is now a famous author and she believes her new book would bring the killer to her, since what she has written is so close to what happened so many years ago.
After Her is what I'd say a wonderful family reminiscence and a detective story. Split into two parts - the first part in the eyes of thirteen-year-old Rachel and the second of an adult Rachel, After Her is more of an emotional driven and coming-of-age story than a mystery. That said, I didn't mean that the mystery part isn't covered. It does (which I was glad), though the author focus more on the sisters' bonding and their relationship with their father. I was extremely touched reading about the relationship between the two sisters, in particular with Patty because of her fierce loyalty towards Rachel, despite anything. I also find it sweet reading the relationship between father and daughters; what they did together always brought a smile to my face (for one, he likes making spiders out of their hairs), well except the part about what Rachel did to lure the killer which I think was foolish and not to mention dangerous.
I think the ending was quite nicely done, though it left me with a bittersweet feeling, but a good ending nonetheless.