12 September, 2016

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman Review!

The Book
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1St Edition edition (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062083457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062083456

The bestselling author of the acclaimed standalones After I’m Gone, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, challenges our notions of memory, loyalty, responsibility, and justice in this evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.

Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.

As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child? 

The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.

The Author
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light. 

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller. 

The Review
Oh, the tales we weave when we practice to deceive.  And so goes Laura Lippman's latest release, Wilde Lake. Lie after lie built on a layer of lies, it's impossible to know who's telling the truth.  Or if there is one clear truth at all.
In this beautifully written story of murder and betrayal, there is a current of love and loyalty that seems shocking.  Lippman builds characters so well that every detail of their personality directly contributes to the story.  It's a glorious balance of past and present and when good people do bad things.
Wilde Lake takes quite a few trips into the past and then back into the present, that it can be difficult to keep the whole story straight at times.  But in the end, with some incredibly enticing twists, the truth comes out.  As much of the truth as there is to know, at least.  It's magnificently mysterious.
There's also a wonderful little synopsis in the end where the reader learns what has become of the protagonist, and while it seems to wrap the story up quite nicely (despite the disturbing - yet fantastic - conclusion), more questions will float around the reader's mind, unanswered.  And that is Laura Lippman's real gift, showcased perfectly in this novel. 
Wilde Lake.  A fictitious place with an arduous past, but one worth visiting.

This book was given to me for review purposes only.

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