Book Group Discussion Questions
1. In what ways are the homicide detectives like a family? What family problems do they have? Does Commander Christie seek the role he has with his squad?
2. What do you think is the source of Commander Christie's charisma? Is it coming from ego, sexuality, kindness, intelligence, or something else?
3. How much blame do you place on Jamilla Washington's parents for the tragedy that happens in their family? What are their family dynamics? What hope do you have for the future of Kameen and Soleil?
4. What is the afterimage or second glimpse that haunts Colleen? How much of what she suspects is hard fact and how much is intuition? Do you think Colleen is justified in her residual anger about what happened to her as a girl? Should she be over it? How much is her silence a part of her problem?
5. What are Colleen's faults and virtues in her relationships with men?
6. Do you think Christie's marriage is in trouble? How vulnerable is he to the charms of Colleen? In what ways do he and Colleen mirror other aspects of the novel's subject?
7. What do you see as David Hoffman's psychological scars in his relationships with his family?
8. The media often reports shocking cases of sexual abuse. One case getting national attention is that of John David Roy Atchison, whom the New York Times identifies as "a federal prosecutor from Florida who is accused of traveling to Michigan with the intention of having sex with a 5-year-old girl." Many people who knew the accused expressed surprise at the charges. What characteristics does the perpetrator in AFTERIMAGE share with Atchison? What characteristics do sex offenders share with serial killers?
9. Perpetrators of abuse may choose boys or girls. The ages of the victims differ, too. What do you imagine are the likely differences between perpetrators who seek young children vs. those who seek teenagers?
10. Are Christie and Dolan justified in ending the investigation in the way they do? Does their behavior exclude Colleen? How could they have handled things differently?