Read What Came Before by Gay Degani Online

what-came-before

A literary suspense novel sparked by racial tensions and family history: Fed up with being tied down by twenty-five years of domestic bliss and everyone's expectations, Abbie Palmer is struggling to assert some independence from her husband Craig and find her creative self. When he tells her, "No man is an island," she flings back, "That's exactly what I want to be, an islA literary suspense novel sparked by racial tensions and family history: Fed up with being tied down by twenty-five years of domestic bliss and everyone's expectations, Abbie Palmer is struggling to assert some independence from her husband Craig and find her creative self. When he tells her, "No man is an island," she flings back, "That's exactly what I want to be, an island. I'm sick of being a whole continent." But breaking away from her mainland isn't so easy, what with cops, Molotov cocktails and Hollywood starlets, lost memories - and maybe an unknown half-sister......

Title : What Came Before
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780988125780
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 264 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

What Came Before Reviews

  • Christopher Allen
    2019-04-08 08:34

    I'm one of those people who have to get up during a movie to go to the bathroom, but if What Came Before by Gay Degani had been a movie, I would have probably wet myself. So glad it was a book.It's a very good book and an excellent whodunnit. I needed to know. I wanted to flip to the end, but I reined in that urge. What Came Before is also a personal, character-driven story about a woman at a crossroads. Her uncertainties and her imperfections fuel this story on one level while the mystery plays out on another.An intelligent page-turner. A compelling mystery.

  • Clifford
    2019-04-18 08:27

    I was asked to blurb this book, and this is what I said:What Came Before is a remarkable achievement – a smart, fast-paced mystery that asks important questions about identity, family, and race. And, like the best of its genre, it’s loaded with puzzles: What really happened on the day Abbie Palmer’s mother killed herself? Who is the mysterious woman who shows up on Abbie’s doorstep, and why would anyone want her dead? What will it take to reconcile Abbie with her husband? Gay Degani’s prose is at all times lucid and compelling, and her exciting story will keep you glued to your chair.

  • Susan Tepper
    2019-03-26 12:28

    This is a book that drew me into its physical and psychological landscape quickly. I was enamored of the setting and the characters, in particular, Abbie, who charmed and terrified me in equal measure, though initially I couldn't put my finger on why. Then as I continued to read, I felt she was a mirror for many of my own feelings and that was a freaky thing to experience. It made the book come alive for me in a very personal way and raised the stakes. If things worked out well for her, I could be OK too, was how this book played out for me. I feel a book has to engage the reader on a deeply emotional level in order to be a very good book. 'What Came Before' accomplished this. It's a terrific read. It feels timely and raises important issues. It would also make a terrific film or a TV movie.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-12 08:41

    A woman who lost her Hollywood starlet mother to suicide when she was a small child, finds herself embroiled in the murder mystery of a half-sister she never knew she had. Determined to find answers and with her now motherless niece in her charge, she embarks on her own investigation and finds herself drawn ever deeper into danger. Fast-paced and sharply written, with unforgettable characters, this novel by Gay Degani will grab hold and not let go. A terrific read!

  • Syrie James
    2019-04-11 14:46

    A fast-paced, compelling whodunit/family saga that grabs you and won’t let go. I loved it!Abbie Palmer is at a crossroads in her life. Feeling overwhelmed by 25 years of marriage and family obligations, she’s just taken her first tentative step toward independence, hoping to “find her creative self,” when a woman appears on her doorstep insisting she’s her half-sister. It’s an impossible claim—isn’t it? After all, the woman is black, whereas Abbie is white. Abbie has spent a lifetime fending off strangers with questions about her deceased, movie-star mother, and has no desire to speak to this woman. However, unable to stifle her curiosity, Abbie goes in search of this mysterious visitor the next day—only to discover that she’s just died, unquestionably the result of foul play. What follows is a gripping story that forces Abbie to come out of her shell and embark on a journey in which she’ll confront her greatest fears, a journey that will ultimately uncover the truth about a secret love story that rocks Abbie to her core, as she comes to finally understand, accept, and believe in herself.I really enjoyed this novel. You will embrace Abbie as a slightly flawed but sympathetic, smart, resourceful, and relatable heroine. All the characters felt very real—they are still rattling around in my head. The writing is top-notch, and the plot is clever, suspenseful, and page-turning. I looked forward to reading it every night, and didn't want to stop. I hope the author writes a sequel to this book. It's great fun to have an English teacher as a detective, and I'd love to see what happens to Abbie in the future.

  • J.C.
    2019-04-15 13:34

    If you have not sampled Ms. Degani's work before then there are plenty of opportunities to do so for gratis so that you know what you are in for. She is a talented author with a complete understanding of what moves a story forward and engages the reader. What Came Before will pull you in and keep you turning the pages well past your bedtime. Hard to talk about it in more specific terms without risking spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.

  • Erin Cole
    2019-04-08 10:44

    I’ve been a fan of Gay Degani’s work since reading her flash fiction online and the excellent collection of works in, Pomegranate Stories. Degani’s style is raw, powerful, complex, and elegant. She knows how to execute conflict in her characters flawlessly and deliver compelling, original stories to ground them in. In her first novel, What Came Before, I’m even more convinced Degani is a hidden treasure.Meet Abbie Palmer, a woman seeking peace and disconnection from a past that’s been following her since she was four, a mother who knows the subtle shades between right and wrong, a wife who tethers friendship and trust to a dead cell phone, a teacher who has much to learn from a young girl she doesn’t even know, and a daughter whose mother’s mysterious past has changed the course of her life in ways she’s only now discovering fifty years later. You’ll love Abbie Palmer and the other characters in Gay Degani’s extraordinary debut—they are as real as anyone sitting next to me. What Came Before is both a page-turning mystery composed of sharp, dynamic prose and a literary story immersed with crime and horror accelerating towards a realistic ending that doesn’t disappoint. I believe a book should take you away from your own world, make you step into others’ lives, and sway you to think and feel differently about who and what you know. That’s precisely what Degani has done, and masterfully at that.

  • D.J. Adamson
    2019-04-06 13:38

    I crept down the dark hall to y room. At the door, I froze. My only refuge had been torn apart. Drawers bulged from their sockets. Clothes were heaped over scattered shoes, underwear, books. The mattress titled sideways across the bedroom, its sheets like white flags. The magazines, the photos, the scrapbook I’d pasted together by flashlight—almost everything I’d squirreled away about my mother—had been ripped apart and strewn across the floor.Gay Degani's novel What Comes Before deserves a timely, careful reading. It is written with a defined craft in point-of-view, and Degani demonstrates the ability to extend language beyond mere communication. While reading this work, author Marilynne Robinson continued to echo in my memory. More than a good read, this novel is a must read.Review can also be read at: http://www.djadamson.com/le-coeur-de-...

  • Bonnie Schroeder
    2019-04-06 10:36

    A literary mystery with a very sympathetic protagonist, this book is full of suspense and surprises. Abbie Palmer, who is wrestling with a troubled marriage, has a lot of her plate already when a stranger shows up at her door and leaves a message: “Your mother is my mother.” Since Abbie’s mother committed suicide when Abbie was a child, huge gaps exist in her knowledge of her mother’s life. Mysteries unfold within mysteries as Abbie chases the truth, and her world turns unexpectedly violent. Her pursuit leads her to do extraordinary things to try and save her own life, both literally and figuratively, as well as the lives of those she loves. The novel is written in first-person present tense, which heightens the suspense because it’s impossible to foretell if the narrator survives. Many Southern California locales appear, skillfully rendered, in the story, and the varied cast of characters all feel credible and real. The finale will keep the reader turning pages, unable to put the book down until the very last word.

  • Jennifer Chow
    2019-04-19 12:26

    What Came Before reminds me of the old serialized novel. I have a lot of admiration for Degani who was able to make short chapters (1000 words or less) into a cohesive whole. I really enjoyed the historical references that are brought up in this book, and the very authentic L.A. setting. Kudos to Degani for researching and working for 12 years to complete this manuscript. I had a hard time connecting with Abbie Palmer, who is the flawed protagonist. However, I enjoyed watching her character arc, from an island into a continent. My only other minor issue is that because of the shorter chapters, the novel feels too fast-paced. I enjoy really delving into a world and characters' thoughts and emotions. The short chapters keep me too tense, though, and I had difficulty processing all the events and connections. Overall, though, a unique and suspenseful story.

  • Judy
    2019-04-11 15:44

    a page turner for me, each chapter ending with me hanging between continuing on and pausing to live my own life. Gay reveals and withholds in a push-pull tension that kept me from really knowing -- there were details below the details that were revealed later.Won't give it all away, but the writing will keep you engaged as you learn "What Came Before"

  • Nancy Silverman
    2019-04-06 11:28

    Not only was this a book I couldn't put down, but it's a book I keep thinking about once I had finished. Superbly written with twists I never would of have imagined. Thank you, Gay Degani, for a wonderfully written story.

  • Len Joy
    2019-04-17 16:39

    This a fast-paced entertaining story that combines elements of a good police procedural with a family mystery. It has great pacing. The main characters are well-drawn and believable. I cared about Abby and Mackenna and I kept turning the page to find out what happened. It’s a good story.

  • Will Zeilinger
    2019-04-19 09:47

    Very interesting mystery, lots of insight into the characters personalities. Written in present tense,well done.

  • Joy Thierry Llewllyn
    2019-04-06 12:32

    Terrific writing. It's such a pleasure to sit down with a book that makes it hard to put down. I want to read more by this very skilled story teller.

  • Ray
    2019-03-31 09:53

    I thoroughly enjoyed Gay Degani's literary suspense novel, What Came Before. Degani is the author of the well-regarded collection, Pomegranate Stories, and is editor-emeritus of Flash Fiction Chronicles. She is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly as well. What Came Before is a "novel in flash," told entirely in chapters of three or four pages. This self-imposed constraint on structure serves the novel very well, accentuating the fast pace of the storyline, which deftly juggles murder, prejudice, and at the heart of it all, a mystery about family history with multiple, nuanced levels. Though occasionally a scene felt cut in half to fit the structure, never was there the choppiness that one might expect with such short chapters. I for one appreciated that a middle-aged female protagonist was given center stage. The story seems naturally suited for a film adaptation, and the role of Abbey Palmer (troubled, empathetic, likeable but imperfect) would be a plum role indeed.Here's what a few others have to say about What Came Before. "Replete with rich, individualized characters, the book moves along at jet speed. One bomb drops after another, embroiling the reader in a race to discover what follows next."— Len KuntzAnd this testimony from the queen of flash herself, Kathy Fish: "A woman, who has lost her Hollywood starlet mother to suicide when she was a small child, finds herself embroiled in the murder mystery of a half-sister she never knew she had. Determined to find answers and with her now motherless niece in her charge, she embarks on her own investigation and finds herself drawn ever deeper into danger. Fast-paced and sharply written, with unforgettable characters, this novel by Gay Degani will grab hold and not let go. A terrific read!"