Thursday, May 10, 2007

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman - review

What the Dead Know will by the end of the year be recognized as one of the top novels of the year.


In many ways What the Dead Know is a tour-de-force of story telling whose only serviceable comparison is the tapestry of bullshit, truth & wonder that Verbal Kint weaves in the movie The Usual Suspects. To extend the comparison just one step further if the central question of the movie was ‘Who is Keyser Soze’? Then the central question of What the Dead Know is ‘Who is Heather Bethany’? It’s exactly this question that Lippman will answer for us over the course of 384 masterfully controlled and written pages.


The story is crafted in such a way so that it leap-frogs back and forth in time. This serves two purposes and executes both beautifully. First it allows Lippman to pick and choose which bits of information to give us and when to give them to us. The bits of information quickly become a potent mix of hints and red-herrings that will form a literary bread crumb trail. Second, and perhaps more importantly it will allow for a careful dissection and examination of the events and the relationships surrounding them. Read More


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