Friday, November 19, 2010

I'd Know You Anywhere, by Laura Lippman

I'd Know You Anywhere, one of Laura Lippman's stand-alone novels (she also writes the Tess Monaghan mystery series), is a psychological thriller that finds its tension in the interplay between a woman and the man who kidnapped and raped her 20 years earlier.

Eliza Benedict and her family have just moved to the DC suburbs after six years in London when she receives a letter from Walter Bowman, the man who kidnapped her, held her captive for 40 days, and raped her when she was a 15-year-old known as Elizabeth Lerner. Bowman, who is soon to be executed for a murder that occurred while he was holding Elizabeth, wants to talk to Eliza. Understandably, Eliza, who has spent years trying to stay out of the spotlight, is at first resistant. But over time Walter and a rather strange anti-death penalty activist named Barbara LaFortuny wear her down. Believing Walter is going to confess to other unsolved murders, Eliza agrees to meet with him. Meanwhile, Walter has a plan to get Eliza to recant the testimony that helped convict him. As these events progress, Lippman fills in the back story, providing details of Eliza and Walter's early lives and the crime that linked them.

While this book is certainly not the most nerve-wracking thriller I've ever read, it is an interesting look into one criminal's mind and the impact of crime on victims and their families.

Favorite passages:
She imagined her body covered with little Post-its, each one marking a specific area of decline--the creaking knee, the popping hip, the stiffening shoulder. She pictured a suit of Post-its, sharp yellow edges riffling in the breeze, at once stiff and pliant. She would like such a suit, an outfit that would announce her edges to the world.

She was appalled that Iso was one of those popular girls who derived power by excluding others. But, still--was this grounds for suspension? Children needed a little grit in their lives, environments that fell somewhere between velvet-lined egg crates and Lord of the Flies.

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