I’m a big fan of Laura Lippman’s writing and have enjoyed her standalone books as much as her Tess Monaghan series. The Power of Three is one of the best books I’ve read on how a missing person can impact on a community. Her latest book, Wilde Lake, is the story of the newly elected state attorney of Howard County, Lu Brant. Lu comes from a prestigious legal family, her father also once holding the state attorney job. The only blight on this seemingly perfect life is that her brother was once involved in an incident which led to a man’s death. Although he was exonerated from blame, the past comes back to haunt Lu’s new job and a current investigation. She is forced to reconsider her family dynamics and ‘truths’ that have been peddled in the past.
The story is told in chapters alternating between Lu’s investigation into a woman beaten to death by a homeless man and the story between 1970 and 1980 of her childhood with her father and brother. Both facets of the narrative are interesting and I particularly enjoyed reading of a Maryland childhood that is less innocent than it appears. There’s sense of how far privilege can take you and what people are prepared to do to protect their status. The tension is gradually rolled out although much of the reveal is stacked towards the end of the book.
Lipman can always be relied upon to provide an excellent mystery combined with strong writing and Wilde Lake is no exception. It’s interesting to learn that she grew up in Maryland and attended Wilde Lake High School. There’s certainly a sense of nostalgia in the book and a sense of how the past and present sit uneasily together. I’m sure fans of Lippman will love it and if you haven’t tried this author before, Wilde Lake is a great place to start.