Good Reading : October 2016
CRIME / THRILLER WOM word of mouth GOOD READING OCTOBER 2016 41 Wilde Lake Laura Lippman The titular lake of the title is an artificial reservoir, located in far mland that was converted into the city of Columbia, Maryland, in 1967. Luisa Brant grew up on the banks of Wilde Lake with her fragmented family – her father and brother. Her father was the state attorney and her brother was an all-round golden boy. Recently widowed, Luisa returns to her childhood home with her children. She becomes the first female state attorney, but a murder trial forces her to begin questioning events in her childhood – particularly the night her brother saved his best friend at the cost of the attacker’s life. Wilde Lake is a surprisingly thoughtful and understated psychological mystery that explores the choices people make and the truths they are able to convince themselves of. Luisa’s exploration of a past that is subtly and darkly different to the one she remembers is contrasted with the constructed identity of the city she literally grew up with. The characters are a bit distant, but this suits the reflective quality of the narrative, which is measured in its pacing. Secrets are revealed in a subtle, low-key way. That said, the novel could perhaps have benefited from either a stronger build-up of tension or a few more dramatic twists as the secrets are far from surprising. ★★★ Faber $29.99 Reviewed by Tessa Chudy The Kept Woman Karin Slaughter Karen Slaughter’s standalone novels Cop Town and Pretty Girls were exciting page turners, and now she returns to the ‘Will Trent’ ser ies with The Kept Woman, which, not to put too fine a point on it, reads more like a soap opera with guns than a thriller. Will Trent, a damaged agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and his partner, Faith, are called out to a murder at a half-built club belonging to a basketball player they had unsuccessfully tried to prosecute for rape. The body belongs to a dirty ex-cop, and there is a lot of blood – but it didn’t come from the corpse. The blood, it turns out, belongs to Will’s toxic wife, Angie. This discovery sends Will on a frantic quest to find her, despite the on/off nature of their relationship and the fact that he is supposed to be getting a divorce so he can marry his new girlfriend, medical examiner Sara Linton. The story doesn’t get any less tangled, but it gets more lurid as it flicks back and forward in time. We learn of Angie’s quest to rescue the daughter she abandoned at birth from the daughter’s abusive husband, and of Angie’s attempt to free herself from the man who pimped her out as a child. The Kept Woman is a lurid melodrama that isn’t quite serious, or tongue in cheek enough to really satisfy on any level. ★★ Century $32.99 Reviewed by Tessa Chudy Her father was the state attorney and her quality of the narrative, which is measured in its pacing. Secrets are revealed in a subtle, low-key way. That said, the novel could perhaps have benefited from either a stronger build-up of tension or a few more dramatic twists as the secrets are far from surprising. ★★★ Reviewed by Tessa Chudy The Kept Woman Karin Slaughter KPretty Girls turners, and now she returns to the ‘Will Trent’ series with RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG About Laura Lipmann LIke her fellow writers Val McDermid and Michael Connelly, American author Laura Lippman worked as a crime reporter before turning to fiction. A few years ago she said In an interview that she uses real stories as the starting point for her own tales, but then takes the plot as far away as possible from the real events. After learning of the basic elements of the real story, she intentionally does no research into the case so that the survivors do not feel exploited in any way.