Publication Date: 7th July from Faber
Source: Review Copy
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?
Laura Lippman has been described as one of the best crime novelists writing today – and I have to say from a purely readers point of view that I would absolutely agree with that.
Wilde Lake is perhaps my favourite of hers so far – multi layered, intensely engaging, a story about family secrets, community, perception and reality, with some intriguing and brilliantly drawn characters and an atmospheric and authentic setting.
The story uses the past/present narrative in a slightly different way, as Lu enters the fray on a murder case that may have deep rooted and hidden links back to her own family. As she prepares to make her case, the past starts to intrude on the present and things Lu thought she knew suddenly look very different from her now adult perspective.
She is in some ways a divisive character which makes things all the more interesting -this author knows how to drag you deep into the story, I loved the relationships drawn between Lu, her father and her brother. A family pulling together through all things, the normal and sometimes not so normal life events, the picture painted is a fascinating one. Throw into that a death from the past and one from the now, start moving one towards the other and you will be unable to put this one down.
Laura Lippman shows us how Lu came to be, her influences and experiences growing up which all feed into her behaviour and reactions in the now -there is a mystery element that has many nuances, this is not a black and white whodunnit but a tale of many levels. Moral lines blur, Lives are changed. The whole thing is extraordinarily gripping.
I loved it. I loved the use of language to convey and invoke emotion, loved the dark and genuinely clever plot and the ending made me cry. Brilliant.
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