What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins
After getting in a car accident and ending up in the hospital, a thirtysomething woman with no ID is subject to intense questioning by both the police and the hospital staff. Eventually she reveals that she is the younger of the two Bethany girls, sisters who disappeared and were presumed dead thirty years ago. As soon as the woman explains who she is, she stops giving details, leaving the lead detective on her case, Kevin Infante, in disbelief about her story. As Kevin untangles her story and the mystery of what really happened to the Bethany girls, the reader is treated to an exciting journey towards finding out the truth behind this mysterious woman and her past.
Would you believe I’d never read a Laura Lippman novel until now? I’d heard that her writing style is similar to Tana French (who I absolutely adore), so I knew that eventually I’d be reading her books. I had the opportunity to listen to What the Dead Know, and overall I was pleased with the experience.
Laura Lippman definitely has a knack for crafting a creepy, atmospheric mystery. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the majority of the time I was listening to this novel and I really wasn’t sure where the book was going to take me. I loved the suspense Lippman created and I also liked what she ended up doing with the story. It was interesting enough and a unique enough concept so that I wasn’t expecting a lot of what happened.
I have to caution you, though, if you are a fan of Tana French and want to compare the two authors (like I did) – just don’t. Lippman is a good writer and this book had a well-crafted mystery, but this book doesn’t quite measure up to the genius of French’s novels, in my opinion. So you’re best going in not expecting that type of novel. Just enjoy what Lippman does deliver and you won’t be disappointed.
One aspect of What the Dead Know that didn’t totally work for me was the characters. They weren’t written poorly or anything, but I simply didn’t connect to any of them how I would have liked. Perhaps this is because I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it in print, but I just didn’t form an emotional connection with anybody in the book, even the main character. This fact didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the novel too much, as I still found myself engaged in the mystery, but I think I would have loved the novel had I really connected with one or more of the characters.
Overall, I quite enjoyed What the Dead Know for what it is – an engaging and well-crafted mystery that held my interest throughout. I didn’t love the characters, but don’t let that stop you from reading the book as it really is well-written and the mystery is unique and expertly crafted. Laura Lippman is an author I will definitely be on the lookout for in the future.