Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

Title: I'd Know You Anywhere
Author: Laura Lippman
ISBN: 9780061706554
Publisher: William Morrow, 2010
Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Thriller
Rating: A
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program

First Line: "Iso, time for---"

After living in England for six years, 38-year-old married mother of two Eliza Benedict has returned with her family to Bethesda, Maryland. In their affluent neighborhood having lived in England has a great deal of cachet.  Her teenage daughter, Isobel, is turning into an angry, snobbish stranger while her young son, Albie, is still a lovable little boy who's eager to please. The last thing Eliza ever expected was a letter from Walter Bowman waiting in the mailbox for her.

Back in 1985 when Eliza was fifteen, she was kidnapped and kept for weeks by Walter Bowman as he made a endless road trip through a tri-state area. She is there when Walter abducts and murders another teenage girl, but fortunately is rescued and returned to her parents and sister shortly thereafter. Naturally this experience has had repercussions on Eliza's life and relationships ever since.

Walter is now on death row and ostensibly wants to make amends before his execution. He uses as go-between an advocate for prisoners, Barbara LaFortuny. Eliza knows he has a different agenda-- as she has her own. Lippman alternates chapters between the present and Eliza's nightmare back in 1985, and what unfolds is a masterful novel about fear, manipulation and survival.

After such a horrendous experience, everyone has had the tendency to close ranks around Eliza to protect her. Who wouldn't? But Eliza learns that one of the consequences of this protection is that she's given up a lot of control over her own life.

I love the way Lippman holds each character up to the light like a prism, and moves that prism a bit at a time, uncovering nuances of behavior and thought that had previously been unseen. It's the major reason why opinions about characters can change the further one progresses into the book. The more one sees the character, the more one thinks, and a more reliable opinion is formed. Lippman even had me wavering over Walter Bowman's character until she'd twisted that prism around a few more times.

If you like reading a novel that worms its way into your mind with brilliant plotting and nuanced characterization, I'd Know You Anywhere is a book for you.


  1. The premise of this story didn't appeal to me, but your description of characterizations in it has put it on my list to look for.

  2. I don't think I've read anything by Laura Lippman but I would like to one day. :)

  3. A thriller that may play with my mind, i'm all over it.

    Great review, sounds like great characters.

  4. I've read the first couple in her Tess books but I haven't tried a standalone yet. I think I'm missing out.

  5. Wow, she must be adept at adding depth to her characters if she could make you waver over the kidnapper at one point...Glad to see that you enjoyed it so much :)

  6. I'm glad you liked this one! I've read several good reviews and already have this one on my radar.

  7. Lippman is one author I haven't been able to get hold of (as yet). I have read several good reviews for her books and must get to her soon. Thanks for this review.

  8. Barbara-- The premise didn't really appeal to me either, but I somehow wound up with a copy from LibraryThing, so I read it. As usual, Lippman came through with the goods.

    Alice-- I hope you get the opportunity and enjoy the experience!

    Marce-- The characterizations are top notch.

    Beth-- I'm the opposite: I've read her standalones and haven't read Tess. Between the two of us, we know what's going on! :)

    TBG-- She is a very adept writer.

    Kris-- I'm glad it's on your radar!

    Mystica-- You're welcome! :)

  9. I am a big Lippman fan after reading this book as well as What the Dead Know.

  10. Lola-- I have her first Tess Monahan book sitting on the TBR shelves but haven't gotten to it yet. I want to see how the series stacks up to her standalones.

  11. Reviews like this are the reason this book is high on my to-buy list!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  12. Julie-- It's very well done and makes you think. I hope you can get a copy of it and enjoy it as much as I did.

  13. I haven't read anything by Laura Lippman but suddenly I'm seeing her books reviewed everywhere and consistently recommended by bloggers I trust. Looks like I must remedy this and soon. I hope to read the first of her Tess books and one of her standalones before too much time goes by.

  14. SuziQ-- I hope you enjoy them!


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