Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Staying up late with "Every Secret Thing"

It's the summer of new authors for me, even though they'd be annoyed to find themselves referred to as "new." What I mean is, authors your host has never read. I've been trying to widen my scope, in an effort to move up the crime-fiction ladder from poseur to dilettante. It was in that spirit that I picked up Laura Lippman's Every Secret Thing a couple of days ago.

A hundred pages in, I'm impressed. The story is fresh: two 11-year-old girls serve seven years in juvenile detention for their roles in the death of an infant, then are released into a hostile world. The plot thickens.

Lippman has this deft way of gradually revealing more details about the central death to make this a page-turner -- it feels a little like Dennis LeHane's "Mystic River" that way. I meant to read just a couple of chapters last night but didn't stop until I'd read six. Also, it's somehow refreshing that every major character thus far is female, convincingly drawn and with distinct motivations. The single male character I've seen is one of those guys who make you ashamed of the gender.

So. Of the three books I bought at Border's the other day, this first one seems a good investment. Since this "new " writer has eight other novels in print, I've got another good author to browse on my next trip to the store or library.

For those more widely-read than I: What about Lippman's series novels? Do they hold up as well?


Peter said...

How about a comment from someone more narrowly read than you are, at least as far as Laura Lippman is concerned? You'll know that I found her story a highlight of the Dublin Noir anthology. Her novels might not be noir, but she did a pretty good job with that highly adaptable style in the story. Perhaps she can write convincingly in more than one style, a big mark in her favor.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Dave Knadler said...

That is encouraging. Also, she's one of those writers with a newspaper background. That doesn't always lead to great fiction, but in her case it surely couldn't have hurt.

Jessie Knadler said...

That book sounds REALLY good. I want to read it after you do. I'm finally getting around to reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," a natural history of three different types of meals.....industrial, organic, and hunter-gatherer. NOt sure if you're interested in the subject matter, but Pollan is an amazing writer and investigative journalist. The book is the most compelling one I've read in a long while.

Dave Knadler said...

Hi Jess. I'd recommend it, unless you really don't like crime fiction. She's one of the best writers I've come across in awhile.

I'll have a look at The Omnivore's Dilemma -- just so happens I have a coupon for Border's.