My first impression of the book was that this was something I was going to love, and I wasn't wrong. The description and cover baited me, and the story held my interest all the way to the end.
"It's an exploration of an author's relationship with her protagonist, an examination of the tenuous line between belief and reality, imagination and self, and what happens when that line is crossed." - After She Wrote Him
As a writer myself, I love reading about authors. They're characters who I can genuinely relate to--they're creatives whose minds I understand. I loved how the author explored what it's like to write and interact with characters. Of course, this is an extreme example of that, but I believe all writers would agree that their characters sometimes feel real--maybe even too real at times. It's easy to become engrossed in your story where reality and fiction blur together. This book is an excellent exploration of the creation process and how it can affect the creator.
Side note, I really enjoyed the play between the characters on the argument of literary vs. genre fiction. Readers will come away with a deeper knowledge of publishing and what it's currently like to be a writer.
Though it's a quick, entertaining read, it's not a book that you can sit back and casually read. You'll need quiet time to escape into the story because you have to pay close attention to what the characters are doing. Since our protagonists' tales weave in and out on nearly every page, it does take some effort to keep things sorted. This didn't bother me any, though. I was so captivated that it wasn't a problem.
Sulari Gentill did an excellent job colliding their stories. I applaud the complexity of such a task. I am left with a few questions, but that's okay. Such is life. And what is art but a reflection of life, right?
Writers, creatives, and people who enjoy mysteries will enjoy After She Wrote Him. This novel has great introspection that can sometimes be lacking in crime fiction. It was nice to have a murder mystery with more depth.
Where the novel really shines is in its takeaway. It's an important reminder to keep grounded. In a society whose weekend goals are often to veg in front of Netflix or some other form of entertainment, it's good to remember what is real and what really matters. We may always have entertainment, but it's real life that suffers if we're not careful.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentrill. Do you enjoy crime fiction, too? Tell me about your current favorite in the comments or on Instagram @vanessakeccles.