Saturday, March 22, 2008

16. What the Dead Know

by Laura Lippman

I'm not a fan of mysteries, thrillers, or crime/legal fiction, but I wanted to read this book because I received a free hardbound copy on the last day of the Texas Library Association conference last April, and I wanted to read it before giving it away. In addition, one of my online book groups was reading and discussing this book.

My husband and mother both like this genre but I don't think they would like this novel. It’s too confusing the way it jumps around in time and from character to character. This made it hard to get into it at first. By the time I was halfway through, I finished it quickly to find out what happened, only to be somewhat disappointed by the end. A woman claims to be one of two kidnapped sisters who have been assumed dead for 30 years. The story becomes confused with irrelevant information and characters.

The victim is unsympathetic and underdeveloped. Her parents are more interesting, and the best part of the book is seeing the effect the loss of the girls has on the two of them (as in The Lovely Bones and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter). The author did do a good job evoking period details of the setting of the crime (Baltimore in 1975) and subsequent years and locations (especially Austin in 1983).

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