Asher has just been found guilty of a crime he doesn’t remember committing. All he knows is he woke up covered in his girlfriend’s blood and now, with his fathers “help” he’s been sentenced to five years in the most terrifying reform school in Florida. But even the psychiatrist at the Dozier Reform School can’t help Asher make sense of his deeply buried memories. Using regression therapy, Asher uncovers memories from different places—even different lives—and those memories are interfering with his reality. As more bodies turn up, Asher realizes things are far more complex than he ever imagined, but what exactly is the truth? Does this crime defy logic or is Asher simply a murderer?
After You Die is the latest novel by Dea Poirier. If you’ve read anything by Poirier before, you know she can set a scene like nobody else. This time she drops you right into the muggy, sticky Florida backcountry. As you read you can feel the oppressive heat mingling with hoplessness, danger, and cigarrette smoke. The story is told in alternating timelines (Before and After) and those timelines stretch quite a bit in unexpected ways though it’s always easy to follow.
Archer is fantastic and unreliable as a narrator—he can’t even trust himself, how am I going to trust him? But even with that, I found myself rooting for him. He is achingly easy to empathize with even when you find yourself thinking he might actually be a killer. Some of my favorite moments are between Archer and Sayid, I only wish there’d been more of that blossoming relationship which manages to be both tender and steamy. Poirier manages to make you feel the presence of danger lurking on every page. I was so thrilled to get to the end of this book and realize there will be more! I truly can’t wait for the next book.
*I received an ARC copy of After You Died in exchange for an honest review*