‘A contemporary thriller that joins the conversations around MeToo, and aims to explore our culture’s obsession and addiction to wealth, power and beauty.‘
– After She’d Gone
[ About the Book ]
Liv keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway: she’s just another tired single mother, trying to make ends meet. She has never told her son about the secrets she carries or the life she lived before he was born. She will do anything to keep him safe.
Anastasia‘s life is transformed when she moves from Russia to Milan to work as a model. She’s rich. She’s desired. But there’s a dark side to the high-pressure catwalk shows; the sun-baked Italian palazzos; the drink-fuelled after-parties hosted by powerful men. Soon, she will do anything to escape.
Selma is a journalist in Oslo. She’s investigating scandals in the modelling industry, but can’t get her article published. Then a woman goes missing in Sandefjord. Now Selma is about to uncover the biggest story of her life…
[ My Review ]
After She’d Gone by Alex Dahl will be released August 18th with Head of Zeus and is described as ‘unsettling, gripping and darkly glamorous…a timely psychological thriller from Alex Dahl set in the ambitious world of modelling’. It is an absolute pleasure to be joining the blog tour today, courtesy of Sophie at Ransom PR, and sharing my thoughts with you all.
Adrian knows he is different from the other children in his class. He is fascinated by planes and spends his days looking out the window at school, losing himself in a world that only he fully understands. His mother Liv protects Adrian the best she can. They live a relatively secluded existence in a house on the outskirts of Sandefjord in Norway. Liv and Adrian depend on nobody else and the quiet life suits them both. Liv works long days with Adrian finding his own way home from school every day but the solitary walk agrees with him, letting his imagination soar. But one day Adrian witnesses a shocking scene that has enormous repercussions on his life.
Anastasia is on a trajectory that will see her walk for the top fashion houses of Paris and Milan. Her stunning beauty caught the eye of a scout and Anastasia was swept off her feet from her humble home near Yekaterinburg in Russia to Milan, joining a renowned model agency and paving her way to a top career. Anastasia shares accommodation with other aspiring models, all chasing the dream, all hoping to establish a successful career in the cut-throat world of the fashion industry. Anastasia’s star rises and it’s not long before she catches the eye of some very powerful individuals. Unprepared for the darker side of the modelling industry Anastasia is taken unawares but once bitten, twice shy…..or so she thinks. Anastasia is a tough nut, reared by a strong woman and always told to be her own person but even Anastasia is awe-struck by the wealth and the glamour, soon finding herself inhabiting a world that she longs to escape, at any cost.
Selma Eriksen is an Oslo-based journalist known for her tenacity and her search for the truth. She presents her boss with a piece she has been working on which unveils the more sinister aspects of the modelling world. She has been lucky to gain access to some fascinating insights that could blow the fashion industry right open but her path to print is cut short. Frustrated and angry, her attention is diverted to a breaking story. A woman and her son have gone missing in Sandefjord, a town Selma is familiar with from a previous case. She is sent there on assignment to uncover the real story and soon finds herself caught up in a very shady story that crosses the globe, involving influential figures and money.
Selma is a journalist, a sleuth-like character who has no fear and has the ability to always be one step ahead of the local police force. She thinks differently to others, she has the capacity to see and feel things that enhance her ability to search out the truth. Her lack of fear for her own safety puts her in extraordinarily dangerous situations but she will do anything to uncover her story and it is this doggedness that leads her down some very treacherous paths indeed. As Selma slowly picks away, Liv and Anastasia’s life stories begin to unravel and a bigger picture is formed with some dramatic reveals as we get a glimpse into a dark and disturbing world.
From Russia to Norway to Italy, Alex Dahl has created quite an atmospheric read presenting the reader with a strong sense of place at all times. The opulence of Italy and the fashion industry is jaw-dropping and the isolation of Sandefjord is chilling. The rural Russian countryside is painted almost dreamlike in its descriptions especially when compared to the opposing luxury of Western Europe.
Alex Dahl raises many difficult themes throughout the book, highlighting human sex-trafficking, drug misuse, Autism Spectrum Disorder and the degradation of women in the fashion industry. Alex Dahl had her own brief encounter with the darker side of modelling, which adds an extra layer of authenticity to After She’d Gone. “I didn’t forget the feeling – that hungry gaze, the blatant threat, the complete dismissal of human value. And I knew I wanted to write about it.“
After She’d Gone is, at times, a very uncomfortable and violent read with a palpable fear running throughout. Thought-provoking and shocking After She’d Gone is a tense tale that kept me fully engaged at all times.
[ Bio ]
Alex Dahl is half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she studied Russian and German linguistics with international studies, then went on to complete an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and an MSc in business management at Bath University. She was also a model in her late teens and this is how she came up with the idea for ‘After She’d Gone’.
A committed Francophile, Alex loves to travel, and has so far lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland, Spain, Bath and London.
She is the author of four other thrillers: Cabin Fever, Playdate, The Heart Keeper, and The Boy at the Door, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger.
Twitter ~ @alexdahlauthor