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Review: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

Title: Wilde Lake
Author: Laura Lippman
Year Published: 2016

Genre: Adult Fiction (mystery)
Pages: 352
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (MD)

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Luisa "Lu" Brant is the newly elected 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 burnish her reputation by trying a homeless man accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It's not the kind of case that makes national 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 at the time, AJ was found to have acted in self-defense. Now Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. Long discrete memories begin to fit together, revealing connections and secrets that Lu never suspected.

The more she learns about her new case, the more questions arise about the past. Why was her brother's friend attacked? Who was the true victim? Lu discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, can no longer provide comfort or even reliable answers. If there is such a thing as the whole truth, Lu realizes--possibly too late--that she would be better off not knowing what it is.

Purchase Links

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Review: As soon as I started reading this book I was pulled in. I do think that's in part to the setting of Columbia, MD because a dear childhood friend lives there and I've been there to visit so I have a sense of the setting. This is one of those books that I read the summary months ago when I agreed to do the review and didn't look at it again before reading the book. I like that as the book reveals itself rather than me having expectations.

I have heard about Laura Lippman for ages, but haven't read any of her other books. If they are like this one, I should read more. This story is so complex and has many twists and turns, which we learn as Lu learns. Having Lu be 8 years younger than her brother and his friends is clever as she is a character (and narrator) who sees everything--as young children do--but doesn't really understand what is going on or what people are talking about. Only as an adult can she begin to question events and talk to people about the past.

I also like that the book alternates between Lu's current life as the state's attorney in the present and her telling stories about the past. As those two time periods begin to intercept the story unfolds for the reader. It's a great way to tell this each important aspect is revealed slowly and in its own time.

Yes, this is a mystery, but it doesn't feel like one necessarily. I reads more like a fictionalized memoir that happens to have some mysterious aspects to it.

Challenges for which this counts:

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