Book Review: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

Wilde LakeWilde Lake by Laura Lippman
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Paperback Release Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher’s Description:

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.

Other books by Laura Lippman I’ve reviewed:
I’d Know You Anywhere
After I’m Gone

tlc tour hostThank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of Wilde Lake. Check out the other stops on the tour!

Tuesday, February 21st: The many thoughts of a reader
Wednesday, February 22nd: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, February 23rd: Joyfully Retired
Monday, February 27th: Readaholic Zone
Tuesday, February 28th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, March 1st: Booked on a Feeling
Thursday, March 2nd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Friday, March 3rd: Stephany Writes
Monday, March 6th: Fictionophile
Tuesday, March 7th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 8th: Book by Book
Wednesday, March 8th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Thursday, March 9th: Helen’s Book Blog

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

  • HeatherTLC

    This was my first Lippman book so I can’t compare it to her others but I definitely agree about the slow burn at the start and the breakneck pace at the end. What a great read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.