I picked up I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman while I was at BEA this spring. I happily snatched it up without even looking to see what it was about because I’d read and enjoyed her earlier book, What the Dead Know. So I was more than a little dismayed to realize Lippman’s latest is a serial killer story (have I mentioned how much I don’t enjoy those enough yet? I still keep reading them though!). I’d Know You Anywhere is the story of Eliza, a happily married 38-year-old mother of two, who one day receives a letter from death row inmate Walter Bowman, the man who held her captive for six weeks the summer she was 15—she was the only one of his victims to escape alive. When I hit chapter 2, which is a flashback to 1984 told from Walter’s point of view, I almost put the book down. But Lippman’s writing drew me in and in the end, I’m so glad I kept reading!
I’d Know You Anywhere is not your standard mystery: for one thing, it’s a howdunit rather than a whodunit. Moreover, since the perpetrator has been identified and apprehended, there’s no sleuth of any kind. The novel flips back and forth between the present (told mainly from Eliza’s point of view but also from the points of view of several other people who have been directly affected by Walter’s crimes) and the past (told from Walter’s and then Eliza’s point of view). The story examines the consequences of violent crime on the lives of the people left behind: a survivor (in Eliza’s case), some of the victims’ family members and several other people who get involved in the case.
Two things really struck me about this book and kept me reading. The first is that Lippman does a great job of getting inside her characters’ heads, including Walter’s, who is portrayed as a human being who does monstrous things rather than as a monster. For some reason, his delusions got me thinking about the ways in which we all, to some extent, delude ourselves and the harm we do to ourselves and others in the process. Second, unlike other books I’ve read with sociopaths or psychopaths in them, this book didn’t scare me. I was horrified by Walter’s actions, of course, but ultimately the book is hopeful in a way that all those other books were not.
After reading only two of her books, Laura Lippman is fast becoming one of my favourite writers!
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with this book to review.
I’d Know You Anywhere is on blog tour with TLC Book Tours in August and September. Visit these other blogs for reviews:
red headed book child • Shhh I’m Reading • Staircase Wit • A Bookworm’s World • Thoughts from an Evil Overlord • Proud Book Nerd • Books and Movies • Wordsmithsonia • Raging Bibliomania • Lesa’s Book Critiques • My Random Acts of Reading • Jen’s Book Thoughts • nomadreader • Book Chatter • In the Next Room • Bibliofreakblog • Café of Dreams
Booking Mama • Bookin’ with Bingo • Caribousmom • Girls Gone Reading • KellyVision • Life... with Books • Luxury Reading • Material Witness • MostlyFiction Book Reviews • Nashville Book Worm • On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever • Presenting Lenore
Interview with the author: Murderati