Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

In What the Dead Know, two young girls, Sunny and Heather, go missing from a mall without a trace. Thirty years later, a woman gets into an accident. When she’s questioned about her identity, she lets slip that she’s Heather. As a result, the police start investigating this woman’s claims. Is she or isn’t she? Where has she been all of these years? What happened that day at the mall? These are the questions put to her, yet she’s being anything but cooperative.

Excellent mystery with very surprising ending. It’s not at all what I expected. As I was reading, some thoughts crossed my mind about how it could end. I never would have guessed at this, though. Very clever.

Lippman’s characters were exceptional. The reader gets to know them intimately down to the smallest details. For me, they were not just believable they were very real. I was so drawn into the story that I was starting to believe it was really happening. I even related some of the details to my husband as if I had watched the news rather than just read a piece of fiction.

There were so many good characters I just can’t pick a favourite. I especially like little Heather, Dave, Miriam and Infante. Each of them was so well developed.

I loved the way the story jumped around in time…from past to present and back again. I also loved the shifts in point of view…from the girls, the parents, and the police. It would have been a different book, and certainly not nearly as good or interesting, had the story been told in a linear fashion from a single point of view. Lippman has a great way of writing that allows the reader to follow along or catch up rather than just get lost.

Highly recommended. I’d also recommend “The Sugar House” by this author. I’ll be looking for more of her books. She’s awesome.

From HarperCollins - Reading Group on FaceBook.

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