Laura Lippman, why do you make us wait so long for new books? I know you have a toddler, and I know I’m being totally selfish, but I read this new one in one night and could just cry thinking about how long it will be before you give us another. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d go back and reread your entire series, but there are just too many new books to read.
Anyway, Wilde Lake is another stunning novel from one of my favorite authors. Lippman has left Tess Monaghan for another book (I hope?) and this standalone is set in a small town called, Wilde Lake. A town much like the one Lippman lived in through her own high school years.
Lu Brant has just beaten out her incumbent boss for the state attorney’s job in Howard County, Maryland. She is settling in when a murder case falls into her lap. There are very few murders in this suburb, but Brant is determined to win this one. A homeless man is accused of beating a woman to death in her own home, and while they cannot find a motive, his diminished mental capacity may be cause enough, while not being severe enough to plea out on insanity.
The book is written in alternate chapters of the present day case and Lu’s coming of age in the 1980’s. She lost her mother a week after her birth, and was raised by her state attorney father and much older brother, AJ. This is a very close family so when secrets start to come out, we realize even the closest of families may have skeletons in the closet. Lu’s view of events as she was growing up take a decided turn as an adult with a much different perspective.
Somewhat reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, (and I don’t say that lightly,) this is a deeply compelling story with themes of family, secrets, murder, mental illness, truth and justice. And one of the best books I’ve read this year.
5/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
WILDE LAKE by Laura Lippman. William Morrow (May 3, 2016). ISBN 978-0062083456. 368p.