Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

Book Info:
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
Author Extras: Website, Facebook
Publisher:  Harper Collins, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 4/5

Summary from the Publisher:

Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere.

In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she's never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She's always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he'll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims.


The first time I picked up a Laura Lippman book I expected a mystery, with creepy serial killers, some blood and guts, and a crazy twist at the end of the book.  And since that wasn't what I got, I came away from the book disappointed.  Going into my second Lippman book I revised my expectations about what type of book I was getting, and this time it worked perfectly for me.

Lippman tells a captivating story, but her characters are really what stand out for me.  She is able to perfectly capture a sullen teenager in Iso, a distant sister in Vonnie, and a conflicted mother in Eliza.  And while I may not have always agreed with Eliza's decisions, I always understood why she did things.  Understandably the story focused on Eliza and Walter, but I did wish some minor characters (like Eliza's husband, Peter) had played a slightly larger role.

The psychological thriller side of I'd Know You Anywhere had me hooked right from the beginning, and I think it would be a good choice for book clubs.  I can imagine discussions around the central ethical issue of the death penalty as well as the character's motivations and actions. 4 stars, very good

About Laura Lippman:

Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her hometown in 1989 to work as a journalist. After writing seven books while still a full-time reporter, she left the Baltimore Sun to focus on fiction. The author of two New York Times bestsellers, What the Dead Know and Another Thing to Fall, she has won numerous awards for her work, including the Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity.

I’d Know You Anywhere is Laura Lippman’s 18th book.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I like this author, so I'm looking forward to this one. Glad u enjoyed it.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have yet to read anything from her, but I do have one book on my shelves. She always receives pretty solid reviews and seems to rise above the "normal" thrillers.

Zibilee said...

I am reviewing this book soon and I am really looking forward to it. I loved Life Sentences, so I am looking forward to this one as well! Great review!

Stephanie said...

I can't wait to read this one!

Heather J. @ TLC Books said...

You are SO RIGHT that your expectation going into a book can influence your level of enjoyment! I'm glad you gave her another chance and that you enjoyed this book for what it was. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

bermudaonion said...

Our expectations can certainly flavor whether we like a book or not. I'm glad this one worked for you!

Zoë said...

I'm on this tour at the end of the month and just finished the book and I totally agree- I'm not a fan of the more usual gore and mystery thrillers, so I loved that this was a psychological one and therefore one I felt I could really get into- I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.