After Me

After Me by Deborah Coonts Book Summary

Twenty million in diamonds missing.

Kate Sawyer, a cop in witness protection, holds the key.

If she could only remember.

Early-onset Alzheimer's clouds the past. Stem cell therapy is working to clear it.

But time is running out for Kate.

One night she finds a dead man in her bathtub with a note stuck in his pocket.

I know what you've done.

Her cover blown, Kate runs, the clock is ticking. People close to her are being killed.

Shadowy memories tease her. Some she recognizes. Others don't seem familiar at all.

Running from people she can't remember, dogged by a past lost in the haze, Kate discovers no one is who they appear to be, perhaps not even herself.

After Me is a dark psychological thriller on the cutting edge of medical science, perfect for those who like scientific what-ifs...with a ray of hope.


After making a name for yourself in another genre, why switch genres now?

My first series featuring Lucky O’Toole is a light, romantic mystery series. At the time, my life was pretty dark, so I enjoyed the laugh-out-loud snark of Lucky and her pals.

But, now life is a bit brighter and I find the darker side, my love of thrillers calling to me. I’ve always loved thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, medical thrillers, women in jeopardy chase books, that sort of thing. Fast-paced storylines with deep, well-rounded characters—I wanted to add my name to the list of writers who have delved deep into these waters.

You’re a lawyer, so why the medical tie-in?

I’ve always been a science geek. When I first went to college, medical school was my target. Alas, life got in the way, but it didn’t dim my interest in the field. And today, technology is honing a sharp edge in the medical field raising lots of possibilities for cures. But where there is a good use there is also a bad use—the yin and the yang. Nothing ever comes without a price. Great for storytelling.

Praise for After Me

"Fantastic! Coonts combines her trademark strong characters and clever plotting with one of the freshest concepts in suspense--a heroine with early onset Alzheimer's who literally can't remember why everyone wants her dead. Buckle your seatbelt for a wild ride!" - Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A firecracker of a thriller--with an ingenious premise, non-stop suspense and terrific writing. But it's the heroine who makes this such a winner--a heart-breakingly damaged loner who's got 'soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture' written all over her." - Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author

"Everyone who loves Deborah Coonts's Lucky series knows that she is a master of the humorous mystery; now everyone will watch Coonts make her mark in the darker world of suspense. After Me hooked me from page one. After Me is the hallmark of a great thriller: strong voice, twisting mystery, and a compelling heroine." - Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

"Relentlessly paced, After Me is the compelling quest of a woman's inspiring quest to survive...and a haunting reminder of the great truth: we are what we remember. It's Coonts's most gripping book yet." - Vicki Pettersson, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

"Deborah Coonts' After Me is the perfect thriller: a protagonist is being chased by those driven to make her pay with her life for a deed she may or may not have done, and truly cannot remember. Coonts's masterly use of memory flashback gives her heroine, Kate Sawyer, just enough revelatory insights into her own private hell to draw her readers into this purgatory with her. The premise is harrowing. The reveal is explosive. And the ending is redemptive. In other words, this is not just a satisfying novel; you'll find it a memorable read." - Josie Brown, author of The Housewife Assassin series

"Deborah Coonts has given us an incredibly original story. Enjoy!" - Catherine Coulter, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"From the white-hot opening sentence - complete with dead body - Deborah Coonts introduces Kate Sawyer, a highly original and different character. From first page to last, you will be caught up in Kate's world, her struggles, her victories, her fear, and her own battles leaving her uncertain what is real and what is not... or who she can trust... even herself. Kate is a new type of heroine in ways that cannot be described; you have to read this book. One can only hope Ms. Coonts will take a suggestion from a certain British Secret Agent and Kate Sawyer will return!" - Will Graham, author of Spider's Tango, Spider's Dance, and Spider's Kiss

After Me is a fast-paced page-turner with a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In this taut romantic thriller, no one is who they seem—least of all, Kate Sawyer. Kate must piece together a past she can’t remember—a past that holds the key to her staying alive. Coonts has a sure winner!” - Barbara Freethy, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“I love Kate Sawyer! Deborah Coonts has created an unforgettable character and thrust her into a fascinatingly unique and dangerous situation. I want more!!!” - Debra Webb, USA Today bestselling author

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After Me (Deborah Coonts) Book Reviews

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- AMAZING5 star

This book is hands-down the best mystery I’ve read. Every twist and turn keeps you wanting more. I literally couldn’t put the book (on my phone) down until I’d finished.

- After Me4 star

Great book- family member with memory issues and the author did wonderfully describing issues. Will read any other books in this series.

- After me5 star

Just finished this book and was blown away. Although it needed proofreading, misspelled words/grammatical errors, was an excellent read. Moved along very well. Highly recommend.

- After Me5 star

Was a fantastic read! Has what I want when I choose a book. Mystery, humor, tears, and warmth great story line!

- After Me5 star

Loved it. Very good read.

- After Me5 star

I just finished this book. I started it last night. It was wonderful! Suspenseful right to the end. I love Deborah’s writing. I adore the Lucky series. I am so glad I found this writer. Best wishes to you, and I can hardly wait to read your latest book. Kathy Kru

- Compelling and suspenseful5 star

Deborah Coonts really knows how to grab the reader with a tantalizing story that unfolds for us as it does for Kate. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and enthralled throughout. Treat yourself to a really good read and an interesting with an unexpected storyline.

- Captured my attention in first chapter, couldn’t put it down5 star

Unique story line! In a world of all too common stories, this one is too unusual to pass up and too gripping to put down! Great job Coonts!

- Masterful Tale5 star

Could not put the book down. The plots that ran together kept me glued to the story. The depth of the characters seemed like you were hearing about someone that you knew. Loved it. Can't wait for more.

- After Mr5 star

Page turner. Full of suspense, yet with a human range of emotions. I enjoyed the book very much.

- After Me5 star

As usual Deborah Coonts delivers a thriller with very real characters that will keep you reading until the very end trying to learn all the secrets and then leave you disappointed that you're finished. I always enjoy her books and this is definitely one of the better ones.

- After Me4 star

Didn't know what to expect after reading excerpt was pleasantly surprised when all characters fell in place and book ended up being one of those " don't put down until you find out who villain is"! very good

- Best one so far5 star

Deborah Coonts writes stories that contain a mixture of mystery, drama, humor, and romance. She manages to blend all these elements and complex characters in a way that keeps you turning the pages. It is easy to connect with her characters, no matter their role in each story. I can't wait for her next book!

- Non-stop suspense!5 star

After Me by Deborah Coonts is non-stop suspense from beginning to end. Kate Sawyer is a former NYPD undercover cop, living in Portland, Oregon in the Witness Protection Program and undergoing experimental stem-cell treatment for a genetic case of early-onset Alzheimer’s. She knows she was badly injured badly in an operation that went terribly wrong, but that is about all she knows. She comes home one night to find a dead man in her bathtub, and a note that says I know what you’ve done. What has she done? You can never quite get your footing in After Me, because Kate can’t get hers. You see everything through her perspective, and it is in turn sad and funny and hopeful and frustrating and scary. With no memory all she has are her feelings, but can she trust them? What about the people who say they care for her? Do they? She believes she’s done a bad thing and that she is therefore a bad person. Kate uses her phone as her lifeline, recording events and facts so she can learn them again every day. And she writes the things she so desperately does not want to lose on her body with a Sharpie. Kate’s world seems so small and heart-breakingly bleak and hopeless. But as the danger increases, we begin to see a toughness in Kate, a determination to find out who she is and what she has done, and some hope. The medical treatments seem to be working, but her memories are shadowy, and she isn’t even sure they are all her own memories. After Me is relentlessly paced. Because Kate’s memories are so small you see how much of life is shaped by what we remember, and that makes everything feel small and close and very unsettling. The action just won’t stop; you are constantly anxious about what will happen to Kate next, and if the people she has come to trust and care about are friend or foe. Did she do something terribly wrong, or is she the victim here? I highly recommend After Me. It’s an excellent story that I did not want to end. I’m looking forward to a sequel, another story like this from Deborah Coonts – or this would make a great motion picture. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

- Unreliable narrator, masterful story5 star

Most of us routinely comment that we wouldn’t know what to do without our phones. In the case of Kate Sawyer that comment is more truth than the claims of an over-technologized society. The victim of early onset Alzheimer’s, Kate is the first person, truly unreliable narrator of Deborah Coonts’s new thriller, After Me. Her phone is her lifeline, how she remembers things, how she tries to piece together who she was to determine who she is now. Coonts takes readers on a wild ride as the events of Kate’s past collide with the events of her present. The pieces are masterfully woven and revealed, the reader experiences them as Kate does and sees them through her eyes. After Me is a masterful thriller. The reader is kept guessing right along with our heroine. Though she is an unreliable narrator because she can’t remember, she is trustworthy because she relays what is happening in her head to the reader as she understands it. I was hooked from the very beginning. Coonts crafts a story you both don’t want to end and can’t wait to see what happens next. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.

- Remember?!?5 star

Remarkable insight into Alzheimer's mind with a compelling story to put you in the thick of it.

- After me5 star

Easy reading while suspenseful till the very end. Enjoyable.

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- Great writing.5 star

This was a fantastic read. I read this book in one day, I could not put it down. This story has many twists and turns that are riveting. Can’t wait to start the next in the series.

- After Me4 star

Deborah, It's been a roller coaster read. Had to stay up late in order to know the end. Although I'm still loyal to Lucky, I'm glad that you ventured to mystery/thriller. Thanks for writing these books and I look forward to the next one!

- Absolute Must Read5 star

Another great read. Looking forward to more in this series.

- After me? No way, I want to read it again!5 star

What a great book. Totally different in a good way. Great characters that I really started to get the feel for, realistic, human and most importantly interesting. Loved the ending albeit rather sad but the twists throughout the book keep you hooked all the way through. My first book by this author but it won’t be the last!

- After Me5 star

So good to meet a new character with personality traits I have not met before! An intriguing read with twists within twists. A definite page turner which kept me guessing right up to the end. Definitely a recommended read.

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