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Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake

Book - 2016 | First edition
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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?
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062083456
Branch Call Number: MYS LIPPM-L
Characteristics: 352 pages ; 24 cm


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Jun 13, 2019

2016; William Morrow/Harper Collins

In Lippman's newest standalone novel she weaves the 1960s, 70s, 80s and present day to tell us about the Brant family. Lu Brant is following her father's footsteps when she is the newly appointed state's attorney of Howard County, Maryland. The first murder case that comes to her brings backs memories of her past, or rather her brother's coming of age story. As she delves into the murder case she is also uncovering secrets of her past - some that should have stayed buried.

Lippman opens the novel with the broken arm of AJ Brant, Lu's older brother. Lu is the youngest daughter of widower, Andrew Jackson Brant, also a lawyer. Working as a state's attorney he has late hours so is primarily raised by their housekeeper. At this time their father is prosecuting a big case and the children are intrigued with it. They meet a young boy, who is gay, and becomes their friend. Well, more of AJ's friend as Lu doesn't have any friends till later in the book. Lu is living her life through her brother. She is smart but also literal and competitive.

Does the story line sound familiar? Does it sound like a really famous book by the name of To Kill a Mockingbird? Lippman was inspired by the book but it reads too much like TKAM and leaves you dissatisfied. There is a scene in Wilde Lake where Lu finally makes a friend and invites him over for Thanksgiving dinner. Her friend, Randy instead of using a fork uses his hand to eat his dessert. Lu chides him for his lack of manners and calls him white trash. Her father scolds her and sends her up to her room as punishment. This scene right away brought up TKAM with Atticus and Scout (Jean Lousie). In fact, I think it took me so long to read this book because I was spending a lot of time reminiscing about TKAM. In Harper Lee's newly published novel, Go Set A Watchman we see the grown up version of Jean Louise and that is what we get in Wilde Lake - child and woman Lu.

I gave Wilde Lake three stars because Lippman is a great writer. This is not a traditional suspense mystery but more of a literary novel with little mysteries running through it. I didn't have any expectations going in and the novel sets itself up quite early so I was not disappointed in genre or writing. Whereas with TKAM the main characters are predominantly good and likeable, the characters in this novel were self-serving and at times unlikable. Yet, it fit the characters and story so I was still able to read the book and be engaged. After finishing this book, just an hour ago...I have been wondering how to rate it. The writing was great, the story was too easy to figure out because of TKAM, I wanted to finish the book but did skim some of Lu's inner chatter and I honestly don't know if I would recommend this book (and if I did, who to). As a concession I went with three stars. I didn't hate it and I didn't love it. It was well written but I wanted less of TKAM and more surprise. I have read most of Lippman's standalone novels so I do recommend her as an author to read - even when it is a so-so book. I am going to stop here before I get to wishy washy with this, lol.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***

Nov 04, 2017

A fairly good book from a very readable author, but she has done much better. The book is filled with "To Kill A Mockingbird" references, but . . . why? After finishing it, I see no purpose in it and am baffled by why she did this especially since the ending differs completely from the ending of "To Kill A Mockingbird." In this story, in the end, everybody turns out to have been a jerk. Was this the point, to write a similar story where there are no heroes, and no "mockingbird"?

Sep 22, 2016

This is the first time reading Laura Lippman. I found it slow and it flipped from past to present. After getting more than half way through the book, I skimmed to the end. I probably won't pick up another of her books.

Sep 07, 2016

Laura Lippman's parents' combined genetic material was not all that good to her, but Luisa Brant--beautiful, smart, riding her daddy's coatails--was certainly blessed with great genes. Apparently, that gives her (and Lippman) every right to be nasty, judgemental snarky mean girls.
There was probably a good story buried in the book, but by page 70 I was so disgusted with Lu's (and Lippman's) superiority complex and woman bashing that I am now and forever done with Lippman.

Sep 01, 2016

Lippman is a New York Times bestselling author, famous for her detective novels set in Baltimore. Wilde Lake follows lawyer Lu Brant as she investigates a present day murder while also delving into her family's secretive past. The novel is slow to gain momentum and I found the alternating perspectives--told from third person in the present day, first person in the past--to be clumsy, making it even more difficult to become absorbed in the plot.

Jul 07, 2016

I picked this book up thinking it was another Tess Monaghan mystery, but this wasn’t your ordinary detective novel. This is a story with the same message as To Kill a Mockingbird. A determined woman follows in the steps of her father as a U.S. Prosecuting Attorney, only to uncover some very uncomfortable facts about her brother and father. The story moves back and forth between first person, Lu’s life at present and third person, Lu’s childhood memories. This delineation in the telling of the story helps as her memories collide with her childhood view of her older brother and father as heroes, and the uncomfortable truths she discovers about things they covered up years ago.

hholley Jun 14, 2016

Wilde Lake was slow to start, but once it got going, I wasn't able to put it down. The story alternates between present day and thirty years earlier when the protagonist, Luisa, is a child. Through these two different lenses, the characters are strongly developed as they struggle with what makes someone good or bad and if it's as black and white as they might like to think. There is a strong theme of how the idea of morality changes as you grow older as well as how the context of memories change as you mature, which was enjoyable, especially in contrast with the criminal court cases playing out in the background.

caj1222204441801 May 31, 2016

Very disappointing considering the hype of this book. I thought I would die from the boredom till after the 5th chapter.

May 27, 2016

Lu Brant digs into the past and discovers its effect on her present life. What her family felt she was able to understand when she was a child and the stories they told her, as well as the justifications they hold onto about their actions, are slowly revealed. As Lu puts the jigsaw of pieces together, the picture and the effect on the participants is horrifying. She confronts some of the participants and the effect is either devastating for them and her, they have built a wall of denial around their part in it, or they are too old and fixed in their ways to be held accountable. Sometimes we look back and decide to make a new story. Is this a good or a bad idea? Only time will tell.

ehbooklover May 24, 2016

Absolutely gripping! I really liked the way that Lippman chose to tell this story: the past was told by the protagonist, Lu, in the first person; the present was told in the third person. The author also used different fonts to highlight which was which. I also grew to care about Lu a great deal despite her obvious flaws. I couldn't put this one down.

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