Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: i'd know you anywhere

The lovely folks at Harper Collins offered me a chance to review Laura Lippman's new book, i'd know you anywhere. I have to confess, I had never heard of Laura Lippman, even though she's a NYT's best selling author with 17 previously published novels. But the description intrigued me ("a stunning stand-alone novel that explores the lasting effects on lives touched by crime. With I’d Know You Anywhere, Lippmann tells a gripping tale of a young woman whose life dangerously entwines once again with a man on Death Row who had kidnapped her when she was a teenager"), and heck... A FREE BOOK. (I know I can borrow free books from the library all the time, and do, but still... FREE. And then I could give it away to one of you!)

I went into the book with minimal expectations, expecting a murder mystery, which aren't the kind of books I usually read. I thought there would be a rapidly rising body count and a woman who kept putting herself in danger in some weird combination of stupidity and bravery as the murders got closer and closer to her. I thought it would be a quick diversion. Instead, I was drawn in to the psychology of the story. I already knew that our protagonist made it out alive:

Eliza Benedict is now a mother of two, and has worked hard to build a happy and secure life after being kidnapped and raped when she was 15. Her world is rocked when she receives an unexpected letter from her old captor, Walter Bowman. Walter is in prison awaiting execution for his murder of another girl, a case that was won with Eliza's testimony. He is suspected of having killed more girls, although his involvement is never proved. Walter had seen her photo in a magazine, a picture taken at a society event with her husband, and asserts "I'd know you anywhere."

The walls that Eliza has built to keep the past firmly behind her are crumbling down, and she is torn between rebuilding them and finding out the answer to her unanswered question: why was I allowed to live? She struggles to understand Walter's manipulation, then and now, and fight against her own fear and survivor's guilt. The narrative jumps between present day and the past, slowly revealing the secrets not only of Eliza's time as Walter's captive but also Walter's history. The point of view shifts between Eliza, Walter and the mother of the murdered girl, anxiously awaiting her moment of revenge when Walter is finally executed.

The novel is full of well developed characters and slow building tension. I was drawn into the story: gobbling up the pieces, wondering at the ending, rooting for the protagonist.

I was up until 2 in the morning, pushing towards the end. When I closed the book and turned out the light, I was satisfied.

Now I have to look up more Laura Lippman books at the library.

Wanna give the book a try? Leave a comment. On Friday 9/17 I'll announce a winner, and I'll mail you my copy.


Mary Beth said...

You know it's a good book when you're up 'til 2AM to finish it! I will have to check out her books - this one definitely has me intrigued.

Magpie said...

Huh. I've never heard of her either...but this sounds intriguing.

Anonymous said...

This is the sort of book that I do read a lot of, the sort of movie I seek out...and yet, reading this synopsis, perhaps I better understand why my husband thinks this preference of mine is creepy.

kaye said...

that sounds great---

Jen said...

Laura Lippman is absolutely brilliant - and one of D's favorite writers. If you enjoyed this, you might try Tana French, too. Especially Faithful Place.