Book Review: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland—including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case—and win big—cementing her political future.
But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime—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. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?
As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?
Laura Lippman writes the Tess Monaghan series but Wlilde Lake is an unrelated stand alone novel about new state’s attorney Lu Brandt. When a woman is found beaten to death in her apartment, Lu takes the case on herself, her first homicide case in her new position. She thinks she knows who the killer is and the greater question is what was his motivation? In flashbacks, Lu tells the reader about her childhood when her father was the state’s attorney.
Lippman uses first person narration when Lu is telling the reader about her childhood. However, present day events are told in third person. I liked this technique. It allowed foreshadowing and a great build up in suspense because first person Lu already knows what will happen to third person present day Lu. When we read what is happening with Lu in the present day, she has no knowledge of where her actions will eventually lead her.
Fans of Lippman’s should know that this book isn’t a typical crime novel or thriller like most of her other books. There is a murder but the book is about more than that so it doesn’t have the fast pace like you might expect. I think most of the critical reviews I’ve read of this book are because the reader’s expectations were not met. However, the pace quickens to a breakneck speed in the last few chapters and then there are so many surprise twists that my head was spinning. I enjoyed the slow burn of Wilde Lake. Lu was a well-developed, complex character and the story was layered as well. Nothing was as it seems. Highly recommended.
Tuesday, February 21st: The many thoughts of a reader
Wednesday, February 22nd: 5 Minutes For Books
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Monday, February 27th: Readaholic Zone
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Wednesday, March 1st: Booked on a Feeling
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