September 26, 2010

I'd Know You Anywhere

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
2010 William Morrow
Finished 9/4/10
Rating: 2.5/5 (Fair)

Product Description

The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author returns with a new stand-alone novel—a powerful and utterly riveting tale that skillfully moves between past and present to explore the lasting effects of crime on a victim's life....I'd Know You Anywhere.

Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquility is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere.

In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she's never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She's always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he'll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims.

Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it—even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she's kept buried inside.

An edgy, utterly gripping tale of psychological manipulation that will leave readers racing to the final page, I'd Know You Anywhere is a virtuoso performance from acclaimed, award-winning author Laura Lippman that is sure to be her biggest hit yet.

Vaguely familiar with the author's name, I picked up the ARC of this thriller at work a couple of months ago, deciding it was time to give her a try. I'd never read anything by Lippman, but knew she'd written What the Dead Know, about which I recall hearing good things. I love a great mystery that has me marking pages with sticky-notes, working through the complicated clues and red herrings, racing to uncover the villain before he or she is revealed by the author. I love an edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps me reading late into the night, scaring me just enough to make my pulse race, yet not so much that I need to sleep with a light on! So basically, I was expecting a read along the lines of Cody McFadyen, Stieg Larsson or Tana French. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed when Lippman's stand-alone novel failed to hold my interest for more than a few pages every evening. What should have only taken a week (tops!) to finish wound up dragging on for almost an entire month. The storyline was just compelling enough to keep me from quitting, but the grand finale was anticlimactic and characters easily forgotten.

Final thoughts: Meh. Three weeks to read and three weeks to review. Not a good sign, but you never know. What the Dead Know may turn out to be just what I'm looking for in a thriller.


  1. How disappointing. The description made it sounded riveting. I hope her other book is better.

  2. Bummer. This is on my iPod, but didn't have any plans for it in the near future.

    I think we have read some incredible work by some astounding authors and other writers just don't compare. It's just a bummer that we have to sift through so many books to find one gem. But I guess that makes those few all the more precious, huh?

  3. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Les, the further I've gotten away from reading this one, the more disturbing I think I've found it. I stopped in the middle and told my hubby that I found the look inside the kidnapper mind and also Eliza's mind to be scary - what she had to do or thought she had to do to survive and how she really had not dealt with her trauma. She just kind of boxed it up and put it on a high shelf and hid. I think it was far too easy for me to imagine doing that.

    No, I don't think Lippman is quite the scary scenario writer that those you've mentioned are. However, maybe a little more subtle. I found her interview about her thought process (think it was on Amazon maybe) to be interesting.

  4. Ouch...I've read some great reviews of this one. So I guess it comes down to just taking the plunge for myself...maybe!

  5. I have less than a hundred pages of this one left--I am loving it! Sorry you didn't have the same reaction. I also loved What the Dead Know, so I will be interested to see whether you like that one.

  6. Framed - Don't get me wrong. It certainly wasn't boring. It just wasn't as riveting as I had hoped for. I hope her other books are better, too!

    Joy - Well, ya never know. You may love this one. I agree with your comment about how we've read some incredible books by some great authors. Kind of makes it hard for some of them to live up to our expectations. They can't all be 5/5 winners, can they?

    Kay - It was disturbing, wasn't it? He was a pretty twisted character and reminded me a little bit of the killer in Capote's In Cold Blood. And, yes, Eliza really never dealt with the trauma of her ordeal, did she? Thanks for mentioning the interview. I'll have to check it out.

    Staci - I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority on this one. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you (and Joy) wound up loving it. As always, it could have been a timing issue for me. Too busy enjoying the last days of summer, perhaps. :)

  7. Stephanie - I'm glad you're enjoying it! I know she has quite a following, so I have high hopes for some of her other books. This one just missed the mark for me.

  8. I think I liked this one a tad more than you. My issue was with Eliza. She was emotionally reserved. Too reserved for me. I needed more from her but she was sort of flat and unremarkable.

    That Barbara was a piece of work though.

  9. Ti - Yep, Eliza was definitely too reserved. And, yes! Barbara was quite something. :)


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