Staff Review: "Wilde Lake"
Luisa “Lu” Brandt, a middle-aged widow and mother of eight-year-old twins, is the new state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a position her highly-esteemed father once held. Homicide is relatively rare in Howard County, so Lu is eager to prove herself as she tries the case of a homeless man being tried for strangling a woman to death in her apartment. As Lu pursues the investigation, memories resurface of the June 1980 night when her then eighteen-year-old-brother accidentally killed someone in defense of his friend. Living in her childhood home once again (with her widower father) triggers childhood memories, and she can’t help but wonder about their reliability. Can the accounts she recalls be trusted? Is she prepared to face the truths in her past and in the homicide case in her present? Lippman’s latest book does not disappoint as it deftly explores the capricious nature of memory, the filters through which childhood memories are recalled and re-evaluated, and the complexities of the social fabric in Wilde Lake (which may not be so different than any other community, despite its founders’ lofty intentions). Lu is a complex character who is driven, competitive, and cynical but is not without a conscience or compassion, and Lippman expertly builds the web that Lu is compelled to untangle. This is a stand-alone book, so there’s no need to be familiar with Lippman’s earlier books, and I highly recommend it to readers who appreciate crime fiction that explores the personal and societal implications of violent acts. Fans of Tana French are likely to enjoy this book.