Laura Lippman's name. I invariably mess it up on my first typing, then turn to Google for appropriate spelling. Two Ps, not two Ns. I've really been obsessed with Lippman's novels this fall and winter. I have read and reviewed all of her standalone novels, except for Life Sentences, as well as one Tess Monaghan novel I'd missed -- By a Spider's Thread. Given all that reading & blogging, you'd think I could learn how to spell her name. I rely on Google, though, and give my brain a break in the name-spelling department. (The more to focus on her writing, you know.)
I'd Know You Anywhere is Lippman's most recent standalone novel, released this past August. In it, we are told the story of Eliza Benedict, a grown woman with two children whose past has come back to haunt her. More specifically, someone from her past has decided to haunt her. Walter Bowman, the man who kidnapped her more than twenty years ago, is about to face the death penalty for the murder of another girl. He writes to Eliza in the hope that she will do something to help him escape this fate. Eliza has done everything she can to put the past behind her, but this communication throws her back into that time period and memories long repressed begin to resurface.
Not a whodunnit (as we already know that), Lippman's novel is instead a "what-really-happened", for Eliza as much as for the reader. Eliza lives with the fact that she was the only one left alive, the only one Walter didn't kill. Both she and the reader wander down memory lane to discover the details of the decades-old crime and answer questions long abandoned.
I found I'd Know You Anywhere difficult to get into initially. Unlike some of Lippman's other novels, which grab readers by the horns and refuse to let go, I'd Know You Anywhere actually begins with the boring minutiae of everyday family life. Eliza's children are hustled to and from school, practices, etc. with the crime taking a back-burner. But within a few pages, Lippman shows her skill set and draws the reader in, making it impossible to put down. Once again, Lippman explored all sides of human nature, from the most innocent to the most depraved -- sometimes in the same individual. She explores the idea of humanity and the possibility that there is both good and evil in all of us.
I highly recommend all of Lippman's novels, especially this latest one. Coming in January here on A Worn Path is a look at her new Tess novel, The Girl in the Green Raincoat, published in serial form in the New York Times.