Laura Lippman,
What the Dead Know
(Harper, 2008)

This about my 10th Laura Lippman book and I have to rank it up there with Every Secret Thing as among her best. I admire the author for making demands of the reader. She not only shifts between six or more points of view, she moves back and forth through 30 years of time. In one chapter, it's not completely clear for pages whose point of view you are reading.

Using Occam's Razor, I half-surmised Heather's identity. But the payoff is not really that revelation, it is how the abduction really happened. It's a mind-blower because it fits so much better than the working theory. It makes you want to reread the book and see how all the clues were there for you to see all along ... as with all fine mysteries.

Heather's adult characterization is off-putting. I didn't mind. With her background, it was easy to see why she is a deft liar (on some things), a narcissist and uncaring of the feelings of others. This tough cookie looks out for herself. Her survival instinct is full throttle all the time.

Lippman's strengths are in plotting and characterization of women. Her men come off a little half-baked. Dave's fate seemed to be for plot purposes.

By the way, when it comes to tracking down someone living in places unknown under a secret identity, Penelope wins the prize.

book review by
Dave Sturm

27 November 2010

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