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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake

ISBN: 0062083457

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: 5/3/2016

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

The New York Times 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.

Harper Audio: Performed by Kathleen McInerney and Nicole Poole

My Review

Talented storyteller, Laura Lippman returns following 2015Hush Hush with her latest standalone, WILDE LAKE emotionally charged, complex- rich in character and dark family secrets. Wilde Lake revolves around a family relationship between a daughter, father, and brother. Where the truth may not always set you free. Family loyalty, secrets, deceptions, and mysteries of the past connect with the present. Should we leave the past, in the past? A family journey from Baltimore to the community of Columbia, Maryland. From 1980 to 2015. Luisa "Lu" Brant has been elected the state's attorney of Howard County, Maryland (first woman holding the position). Her father, Andrew Jackson Brandt held this position previously. Her husband, Gabe dies (a scandal here, as well), and she and the children (twin eight-year-olds) move in with her father, in Columbia, Maryland. Her father, from Virginia raised Lu and her older brother AJ. Her mother, Adele died when Lu was a week old, so she never really had any female influences except for the housekeeper (Teenzy). Her parents met in law school. Reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch and her father’s quest for justice. Alternating from thirty years prior-her childhood to the present. Her father is getting old, and his practice has been a charade for years. He loves Law and Order TV, and no longer reads or drives, nearly eighty. Lu in her early forties, is sharp, and ambitious and has a new murder case. an investigation involving Rudy Drysdale, a homeless man, mentally disturbed drifter, accused of murdering a woman. Some politics involved with her old boss, and of course the person she defeated for position of state attorney. Now she is coming full circle. She followed her dad’s footsteps instead of her brother. She has never lost a case in Howard County and she is not going to lose this one. Secrets, lies and tests of loyalty will come to the surface and begin to unravel, during the investigation. What really happened with Rudy? How does this case relate to events years past? What happened years ago? What did he see and what did he know. He was loyal to AJ ? What did he have to lose? Always watching. Will Lu figure out the mystery. What did her brother leave out? People need to be held accountable. Was he a hero or not? A tragedy occurred years ago and involved her brother. A death. Her father used his influence as the State's Attorney to see that the incident was swiftly resolved.

Multi-layered, a family tragedy and mystery from 1980, the night of AJ’s graduation at Wilde Lake High. The party at Wild Lake, a tradition, a suburb, where teens stayed out all night. AJ was the son of state’s attorney, so things had to kept under wraps. Lu was kept out of the drama, the fallout, and it was not discussed. While living in the same childhood town, many memories surface. When she was ten and he was eighteen, there was a lot of focus surrounding her brother. Soon she is questioning other things and how those events may be connected to her present case. What information was withheld from her? With maturity she reflects back over the years which raises other questions. A cover-up? Protections. Loyalties. Morals, ethics, family. Tragedy and triumph. Painful memories. How many deaths can one family and town hold? Will tragedy and the truth change Lu, and discourage her from law? Wilde Lake is more of a psychological domestic family mystery suspense, versus a crime thriller. A little different than her previous books; however, with Lippman’s own unique storytelling trademark style- an absorbing exploration of human family dynamics. I listened to the audio version, narrated by Kathleen McInerney and Nicole Poole. Kathleen is one of my favorite narrators, delivering an intriguing performance. Fascinating, Lippman grew up in Columbia, Maryland (the setting for this book) and also graduated from Wilde Lake High School.

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About the Author

Photo credit: Leslie Unruh

Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller. Read More







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