Saturday, March 18, 2017

Heard: "Wilde Lake" by Laura Lippman

Heard: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman, 2016, download.

Megan Abbott kept praising this on Twitter so I nabbed the digital audio. This is a novel with a murder mystery but not a murder mystery novel. The novel is set upon the faulty memories and misunderstood experiences of a 10-year-old who grows up to be a District Attorney in her home county.

Luisa "Lu" Brant is the newly elected District Attorney of a Maryland County just outside Baltimore. She lives with her retired father who was District Attorney for about 20 years (or so). Lu is widowed with twins in first grade. She tells the story as both a 10-year-old and present day adult.

Lu is 8 years younger than her brother, AJ. Her mother died only a couple weeks after Lu's birth and she grew up in a young, idealistic, rural suburb with AJ and their father. Lu greatly admired high school AJ and his group of high achieving friends. Lu's young age, innocence, and hero worship made for some incorrect assumptions about her brother and his friends.

Adult aged Lu gets a murder case of a woman killed in her home. The suspect happens to be an alum of the local high school. AJ claims to not know the man. Lu prosecutes the case. The murder and prosecution Lippman's path to talk about a lot of things: sexism, faulty memories, family secrets, pride, arrogance, excuses for poor behavior, how social mores and criminal laws change and evolve over the decades.

Lu is guilty of some poor decisions as a child and adult. So are her family members. The novel is Lu coming to grips with those things while trying to be a good mother, daughter, and servant of the law. Lu is firmly grounded in her present-day life but so much of the murder case makes her think about events of 30+ years ago. Lu reveals more and more secrets as the novel goes along. Those revelations are partly discoveries during the murder case. Other revelations are historical and hinted at by Lu during the story and gradually revealed to the reader.

1. I still have not read Abbott, Jr.'s latest novel from mid-2016. She is so good at laying on creepiness and dread that even thinking about the novels makes me uncomfortable.
2. You know. I guess I don't have too much to say about this novel. I thought I did. But, as you can see above, I am mostly blank at the moment.

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