An African-American man accused of rape by a humiliated girl. A vengeful father. A courageous attorney. A worshipful daughter. Think you know this story? Think again.
Laura Lippman, the “extravagantly gifted” (Chicago Tribune) New York Times bestselling author, delivers “one of her best novels ” (Washington Post)—a modern twist on To Kill a Mockingbird. Scott Turow writes in the New York Times, “Wilde Lake is a real success.”
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland—including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case—and win big—cementing her political future.
But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime—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. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?
As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?
Luisa "Lu" Brant, the heroine of this richly plotted and emotionally devastating standalone from Lippman (Hush, Hush), has been newly elected as state's attorney of Maryland's Howard County. She's back in her hometown of Columbia, where she and her brother, AJ, eight years her senior, were raised by their widowed father, Andrew Jackson Brant, a formidable prosecutor with an Atticus Finch sense of justice and morality. Widowed herself and raising eight-year-old twins, Lu lives in the house where she grew up replete with memories of a mostly friendless childhood spent tagging after AJ or reading. Everything in the Brants' lives is cleaved into before and after a shocking act of violence on the night of AJ's high school graduation in 1980. When Lu takes on her first murder case as state's attorney a woman is found beaten and strangled in her apartment she has no idea that the defendant, a mentally unstable drifter, could be connected to a larger pattern of darkness stretching back to her childhood. Lippman plays with the concept of truth and expertly homes in on the question of whether there are some truths we never want to know.
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What Was This?
An odd story by the author. Were chapters removed to meet a page count? The ending drew together too many loose ends too quickly. After reading several hundred pages of build up the book was wrapped in less than a hundred. Pointlessly actually.
A good story but a rambler.