Saturday, May 28, 2016

(46) Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman


Luisa "Lu" Brant is following in her father's legal footsteps.  She is the first female State's Attorney for Howard County in Maryland, a role her father held for many years.  Also like her father, Lou is raising two children by herself after her spouse died.  Lu has a lot on her plate as a widowed mother of twins, but she is excited to take on the role and has moved back in with her father in her Wilde Lake childhood home.  She believes it will help with her workload, but she is expecting her new job will be hard.  Her first case involves a woman brutally murdered on New Year's Eve.  As the events surrounding the murder start to unfold, Lu realizes that there might be a connection to an event involving her older brother and his friends that happened decades ago. But Lu's memory of that event and of her entire childhood are challenged with each detail that is revealed. Even though her career is dependent on the truth, Lu realizes that in this case the truth might destroy everything she thought she knew about her family.

Wilde Lake was one of those novels that just draws the reader in with each new page.  There is a real To Kill A Mockingbird vibe to the story, almost like the author was paying homage to one of the best novels ever written. The story is told in alternate timelines, the past, during Lu's childhood and the present.  While Lu had a good childhood, it was far from perfect with the death of her mother just days after she was born. She was a gifted student and was focused on her goal to be a lawyer like her father.  There were many times that I thought that Lu came across as quite arrogant, but I kind of think that she has worked hard to get where she is at, so maybe being arrogant is okay.  It just didn't leave me feeling "connected" to her.   One thing is evident, though.  Lu is damn good at her job.  The more she digs into the events surrounding this woman's death, the more the author draws you into the story. The story is slow to unfold, but the author is quite deliberate in her way of revealing the details of why and who committed this murder.  I wasn't all that surprised by the "big reveal",  but I hadn't really figured it out, either.  I had that "oh, that makes sense" kind of feeling.

Bottom line -  While Wild Lake is one of those mysteries that had my attention, but did not have me on the edge of my seat.  More of an intellectual mystery that you have to see through to the end.

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