The bestselling author of the acclaimed standalones After I’m Gone, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, challenges our notions of memory, loyalty, responsibility, and justice in this evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.
As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?
The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062083457 (ISBN13: 9780062083456)
About the Author
Check out the author's website
Like the author on Facebook
Follow the author on Twitter
When my brother was eighteen, he broke his arm in an accident that ended in another young man's death.Lu is the new state's attorney in Howard County, Maryland. She has a lot to prove, being the first woman to fill the position, and having had her own father hold the position previously. Lu lost her mother shortly after her birth, and she and her older brother AJ were both raised by their loving but tough widower father and their somewhat detached housekeeper/cook Teensy.
Lu didn't have many friends growing up in the small town of Columbia, and was quite awkward in her childhood, but was very familiar with her big brother's group of friends when he was in high school.
While in high school, something happened one night while AJ and his friends were unsupervised at one of their houses-- something that will now come full circle many years later, landing smack dab in the middle of Lu's life.
I was introduced to the author through her novel And When She Was Good, which I enjoyed, but I liked this one much more. Flashing back and forth between childhood and present day, there is good character development from childhood to late adult, and the transitions were handled quite well. Often when there are these sort of flashbacks, it can be difficult for me to keep track of the timeline. To ease the leaps through time, the author uses dates to track present day, while glances at the past have chapter titles like "OH BRAVE NEW WORLD THAT HAS NO TREES IN IT" and "INTEMPERANCE".
This story has dual mysteries-- one from the present involving a murdered woman and one that resurfaces from the past. The story slowly builds both mysteries incrementally, while likewise building suspense. What really happened so long ago with her brother and his friends? Is there a connection to the present day murder?
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:
Tuesday, May 3rd: Reading Reality
Wednesday, May 4rd: she treads softly
Friday, May 6th: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, May 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, May 10th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, May 11th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 12th: bookchickdi
Friday, May 13th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, May 16th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, May 17th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 19th: Luxury Reading
My final word: I really liked this story. This is a mystery novel with some depth. While I often have difficulty with transitions between past and present, I thought the author handled those transitions well in this book. The flashbacks really helped with the character development, which resulted in more multi-dimensional characters. Author Laura Lippman reveals the dual mysteries slowly throughout the story, building tension and suspense, and leading Lu to uncover several unexpected secrets. The author masters the art of suspense, and this book will have you anxious to turn the next page. Thank you, Laura Lippman!
Barnes and Noble
The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.
I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.