Book Review: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman 2

Wilde Lake

Laura Lippman




 Barnes & Noble


• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)

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 TribuneNew 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?


My Rating:



Favorite Quotes:


‘Jonnie Forke.’ Lu, aware that her trouble with names and faces is a liability for a politician, plays her favorite private game of trying to construct a mnemonic trick. Stick a fork in her, she’s Jonnie.   Heeeeeeeeere’s Jonnie – with a Forke for her butterface.


Noel taught us the valuable lesson that making a spectacle of yourself was sometimes the best way to get people to stop noticing you. Noel lived his life based on this premise, although he would have been heartbroken if he weren’t the center of attention when he wanted to be. He was that rare young person who understood exactly who he was what he needed – and that his parents, his friends, the world at large, were not ready for this information.


It is possible to anticipate something so ferociously then one day forget that it’s happening at all.   Part of this is the passage to adulthood; birthdays fade in importance, holidays become something to be endured. I know there are grown-ups who still become excited about Christmas, although I find them suspect.


After our mother was gone, nothing the touched could be changed… AJ, meanwhile, would not speak of her at all. Although not generally selfish, he hoarded his memories of our mother as if they might evaporate in the open air.



My Review:


Wilde Lake was a smartly written and cleverly paced spider web of intricately woven family secrets that snared me and held me fast. It was stellar! The storyline was multi-layered and craftily exposed, and lushly detailed with vivid and evocative visuals. I enjoyed every timeline, flashback, secret, plot twist, and character. Laura Lippman is a gifted and skilled scribe. I reveled in her acumen and adored her character of Lu. Lu was whip-smart yet admittedly flawed and had no problem confessing her worst traits. She was overwhelmingly curious with a deep-seated competitive need to “win” as a child as well as an adult, and these intelligent traits caused considerable consternation to her taciturn father. As a child she considered herself an ever-alert sleuth, always watchful but not always able to comprehend what she observed, but wily enough to store it away for future leverage. I took great enjoyment in her efforts to make sense of confusing data through the limited tools and reference materials available to her – the baby-sitter’s soap operas, her father’s dictionary, and her favorite television program of Angie Dickinson’s Police Women. How disillusioning it would be to discover your entire childhood was a prevarication, or to use a current buzz phrase, couched in alternate facts. I was enthralled and engrossed with the story throughout, although the revelations in the final chapters were rapid, stunning, and heart stopping. I am breathless with awe.  I was provided a review copy of this riveting book by HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Laura Lippman

Since Laura Lippman’s debut, she has won multiple awards and critical acclaim for provocative, timely crime novels set in her beloved hometown of Baltimore. Laura has been nominated for more than 50 awards for crime fiction and won almost 20, including the Edgar. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. Now a perennial New York Times bestselling author, she lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.

Connect with Laura on her website, Facebook, or Twitter

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

  1. Reply Heather J. @ TLC Mar 3,2017 8:53 am

    Oh yes, the things she discovered about her childhood that were so different than what she originally thought were CRAZY. What a great read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. Reply trish Mar 8,2017 1:16 pm

    A spider web of secrets! I love Lippman’s books for the stories being so layered!

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