Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making Amends to Laura Lippman

I had read numerous great reviews for Laura Lippman's work (and not just from hometown Baltimore writers) when I picked up one of her novels in a bookstore and read through the first couple of pages. It was one of the Tess Monaghan novels, possibly Baltimore Blues, her first, and I was completely disappointed. Typical genre stuff, I thought. I put it down and wrote her off. I even mentioned my disappointment to a couple of people when the subjects of books, authors, etc. came up. Still, I kept coming across praise for Lippman here and there and I just didn't get it.

A few months later, I was in a used book store right after an eye doctor's appointment--the store is in the same shopping center as my eye doctor's office--and, struggling with blurry vision from the eye drops, I wandered through the stacks with nothing jumping out at me. In fact, I had to get within centimeters of the spines to actually read the titles. Not needing any books and frustrated with my inability to see them anyway, I found myself in the Mystery section and found a mass market paperback copy of Laura Lippman's Every Secret Thing. For $2.99, how could I lose?

It turned out to be a great deal. The writing was sharp and devoid of clich├ęs, the characters were interesting and well-formed, and the plot was tasty. Add to that the superficial thrill of familiarity with all of the locations and landmarks in the novel and I was completely hooked. At times it felt like I was watching a crime show, but it was a really good crime show. I highly recommend it and I'll be checking out some of her other non-Tess books as soon as I get through the stack of books next to my desk.

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