Review: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Title: What the Dead Know
Author: Lippman, Laura
Length: 372 pages
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher / Year: Avon, Harper Imprint / 2008
Original Publisher / Year: William Morrow / 2007
Source: This was sent to me for review by HarperCollins Canada.
Why I Read It: It sounded interesting.
Date Read: 15/07/10
After a hit-and-run accident, a dazed and confused woman claims to be Heather Bethany – one of the two young girls (aged eleven and fifteen) who were abducted from a Baltimore mall and never heard from again. There were no leads, no evidence, no body has ever turned up, and the girls have never reappeared. A true cold case.
As the story progresses we switch between present day with the detectives, social worker, lawyer, and the supposed Heather Bethany, and the past. Sometimes the past takes us to the family before the abduction. Sometimes to this girl who claims she is Heather, or her mother, or father afterward the abduction. Through the glimpses of the past we can see how the abduction affected the family. How the family fell apart, how Heather has been living and how it has affected her life.
It was heartbreaking to read of the parent’s struggle afterwards. Dealing with grief and loss, not knowing what to do, how to hold on to hope, not able to give up hope. It was also interesting reading about the detectives present day and how they were trying so hard to figure out if Heather was telling the truth or not. Every lead she gave them turned in to a dead end, so what was going on? She seemed not quite truthful, but what part was she holding back on? Was it all a lie? Was it partially a lie?
The book really did a good job of keeping you guessing and on your toes. That being said, it just wasn’t the right kind of book for me. Crime fiction and mystery just doesn’t seem to do it for me as much as other genres. I found that I couldn’t really get invested in the characters. I never got in to the story enough that I truly cared what happened. I was disappointed to stay at arms length throughout and found it difficult to get to the end, but I think a lot of people would truly love this novel. If you like crime fiction and mystery, I would recommend this book to you.