Thursday, December 31, 2009

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Flap copy from paperback:
"Thirty years ago, the Bethany girls, ages eleven and fifteen, disappeared from a Baltimore shopping mall. They never returned, their bodies were never recovered, and only painful questions remain. Now, in the aftermath of a rush-hour hit-and-run accident, a clearly disoriented woman is claiming to be Heather, the younger Bethany sister. Not a shred of evidence supports her story, and every lead she reluctantly offers takes the police to another dead end—a dying, incoherent man; a razed house; a missing grave. But she definitely knows something about that terrible day—and about the shocking fissures that the tragedy exposed in the foundation of a seemingly solid family."

This excellent novel about two missing girls kept me guessing all the way to the powerful and riveting conclusion. Lippman is a wonderful writer, and I found myself unable to put this book down until I read it all the way through. The tragic tale of two girls who disappeared one afternoon and the effect that disappearance had on the lives of those around them is wrapped up the gradual unraveling of the truth behind that afternoon, and the many shadings of guilt that surround Heather and Bethany's disappearance. Despite bouncing between perspectives and time, this novel never loses momentum; Lippman keeps the tension building as the story rockets toward the truth. Highly recommended.

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