Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
Booklist Reviews 2016 April #1
*Starred Review* Wilde Lake does not live up to its name (it's man-made), and the planned community that surrounds it fails in its bucolic mission when violence erupts at a high-school graduation party in 1980. Accused of raping a white girl, an African American student is attacked and left paralyzed. Chased by AJ (who ends up with a broken arm), the son of the much-admired, long-widowed state's attorney, one of the assailants dies after falling on his own knife. Our narrator is AJ's much younger sister, precocious, solitary Lu. As more details click into place, it becomes clear that Lippman's latest ensnaring mystery (following Hush Hush, 2015) is a cunning variation on To Kill a Mockingbird. In the present, Lu is a young widow who has just followed her father's footsteps to become the county's first woman state's attorney. An accomplishment quickly undermined as the first murder she investigates leads her inexorably back not only to that fateful summer night, but also to the case that made her father famous, an event rife with brutal implications about class, race, and gender. As shocking secrets are revealed, the reader realizes that nothing and no one can be taken at face value in Lippman's brainy, witty, socially conscious, and all-consuming inquiry into human nature and our slowly evolving sense of justice and equality. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lippman is an A-list crime writer, and her reimagining of Harper Lee's classic will be of added interest in the wake of the release of Lee's Go Set a Watchman and Lee's recent death. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2015 December #1
Following in her father's footsteps as state's attorney of Howard County, MD, Luisa "Lu" Brant has decided to make her mark by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death. But the case brings back distant memories of her brother's having saved a friend at the expense of another man's life, and she begins to wonder whether as a child she understood the case correctly. The multi-award-winning author acknowledges parallels to the Finch family of To Kill a Mockingbird, adding, "This book was well under way when HarperCollins announced its acquisition of Go Set a Watchman—and it was completed before that novel was published." With a 150,000-copy first printing.[Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2016 March #3
Luisa "Lu" Brant, the heroine of this richly plotted and emotionally devastating standalone from Lippman (Hush, Hush), has been newly elected as state's attorney of Maryland's Howard County. She's back in her hometown of Columbia, where she and her brother, AJ, eight years her senior, were raised by their widowed father, Andrew Jackson Brant, a formidable prosecutor with an Atticus Finch sense of justice and morality. Widowed herself and raising eight-year-old twins, Lu lives in the house where she grew up replete with memories of a mostly friendless childhood spent tagging after AJ or reading. Everything in the Brants' lives is cleaved into before and after a shocking act of violence on the night of AJ's high school graduation in 1980. When Lu takes on her first murder case as state's attorney—a woman is found beaten and strangled in her apartment—she has no idea that the defendant, a mentally unstable drifter, could be connected to a larger pattern of darkness stretching back to her childhood. Lippman plays with the concept of truth and expertly homes in on the question of whether there are some truths we never want to know. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (May)[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC