Alafair Burke’s Find Me – Searching for a Past

Hope Miller is not her real name. Found 15 years ago in an overturned car, she can’t remember how she got there or anything about her past. While physicians believe her amnesia is temporary, Hope never gets back her memory and begins to build a new life. Crucial to creating a future is Hope’s best friend, Lindsay Kelly, who discovered the accident and has made it her mission to help the young woman. Hope disappears after she moves from Hopewell to East Hampton and soon becomes the suspect in a homicide. Lindsay, a Manhattan defense attorney, must now use her professional skills to prove Hope is a victim not a killer. But first, she must find her.

Hope’s situation becomes more complicated when a blood sample at the East Hampton home produces a DNA link to a serial killer, the College Hill Strangler, who operated in Kansas City. Ellie Hatcher, the NYPD detective, who was born and raised in Kansas City, and has information about the case, agrees to meet with Lindsay. There’s evidence that Hope once lived in Kansas City. Does she have a connection with the serial killer?

Alafair Burke (Photo credit: Nina Subin)

Alafair Burke follows the “write what you know” advice that guides so many authors. A former prosecutor, she knows about crime and the law. Dividing her time between Manhattan and East Hampton, she knows about life in big cities and small towns. And while her resume doesn’t detail the fact, she understands relationships, particularly those between women, front and center in two of her previous novels, The Better Sister and The Wife. 

Amnesia is a frequent plot device and Burke employs it well in Find Me. While Hope makes a convincing case for not remembering her identity, questions soon pop up. The man she’s accused of killing has a link to her past. Did he threaten to reveal how she ended up in that car wreck? If she killed him, did she kill when she wasn’t Hope Miller? While Hope’s lingering amnesia is finally dealt with, how that unfolds confuses rather than clarifies what went before.

The one area where Burke pulls punches has to do with the relationship between Hope and Lindsay. While Hope is, no doubt, dependent upon Lindsay for support, Lindsay’s feelings towards Hope begin to go beyond friendship. Is it obsession? Love? The two had shared a kiss and when Lindsay’s boyfriend finds out, he leaves. Whether Lindsay’s feelings for Hope are reciprocated is never addressed. This aspect of the Lindsay-Hope relationship feels unfinished and unsatisfying.

Find Me
Alafair Burke

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (526 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.