Monday, August 23, 2010

Review #81: I'd Know you Anywhere by Laura Lippman


I'd Know You Anywhere
Laura Lippman
Release Date: 
August 17, 2010

My Description:
Eliza Benedict leads a calm, quiet life; wife to successful Peter, mother to 13 year old Iso and 8 year old Albie. 
But what she doesn't know is that her current happy existence will soon be shattered by the arrival of a letter from Walter Bowman.
It reads: 
There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. I'd know you anywhere.
Who is Eliza? 
Who is Walter Bowman?
Eliza is actually Elizabeth Lerner and Walter Bowman is the man who kidnapped her when she was fifteen and held her hostage for six weeks. It was the summer of 1985 and Eliza was a quiet girl who loved Madonna. It took only a few kind words and a promise of a ride to make Eliza disappear.

Walter was a local man who only wanted to find a girl who would understand him. They just never seemed to be right. It wasn't his fault that he had to make the others disappear. He saw in Eliza a good girl who would listen. He controls her with calm threats to her family. His conviction that there life together is normal sends a cold ache through Eliza. Fearing something harsh and violent is bubbling under the surface, she stays and listens and doesn't flee even when seemingly given chances.

Then he picks up another girl.

This act will change his fate and her role in this abduction.

My Review:
This is one of Laura Lippman's stand alone thrillers. She has graduated to writing a bit more edgy thrillers like this vs. writing her Tess Monaghan mystery series in her early writing career. I have only read the first in the Tess books and have not read any of her stand alones. My good friend Cheryl has read many of her thrillers and thinks she is the bees knees. I jumped at the chance to review this one because of that.

So I was expecting a bit more from this book. I believe in Lippman's writing. Though she definitely has an edge to it and plays with the psychological aspect of these characters, I just didn't care too much about them.
Eliza was a bit morose as a teen and a bit bland as an adult. She was fearful during the abduction but I didn't really feel the danger. Walter was portrayed as a misunderstood man who justified his attacks on women because of their own faults. Their time together is tense but it's also uncomfortable and not in a "holy crap" scary way. Maybe it was my own experience with reading books about abductions. I was expecting more violence, more rage. Because I didn't get that, I couldn't wrap my head around the whys.

After Walter picks up his last victim and she dies, Eliza is rescued and he goes to prison. The nature of the kidnapping is odd; Eliza seemed to have chances to escape whether by her own observance or when Walter seems to almost step out of the way. But she doesn't run. Fear or stupidity? Some claim she was involved, that they were together. And this is something Eliza has to live with for the many years to come.

Fast forward to the present when Eliza is a good stay at home mom with two kids, a decent marriage and a nice house. A random snapshot in a magazine from a dinner party attended with her husband catches the eye of Walter in prison. So begins the correspondence between them. Does he want to be forgiven? Does he want to name his other victims? Does he want to come to peace? What exactly does he want from Eliza?
Eliza doesn't know and doesn't really care but still is lured into meeting him and beginning a communication. 
On top of it all is the random woman friend of Walter's who is his advocate and his voice and his connection to the outside world. She contacts Eliza for him begging her to give him a chance, her being such a champion for prisoner's freedoms and all. We also get to ride along with the mother of Walter's last victim. I felt the most from her; the pain in losing her daughter, the giant hole that still existed and the anger she still harbors for Eliza.

Unfortunately, overall, there was something with all of the characters that I really just didn't like. I wanted Eliza to be more angry, Walter more crazy and the justice more satisfying. 

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
So I am going to have to vote on the lower end of 4 for this one. I didn't want to give it a 3 because I do feel it is above average; in writing style and of creativity of the story. I did enjoy Laura Lippman's first book in the Baltimore series a lot so I am not giving up on her. I think I just need to read some of her other stand alones to gain some perspective. Overall, it was the characters that fell flat for me. I wanted more punch!

More Book Info:
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-170655-4
Pages: 384
Price: $25.99

Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her hometown in 1989 to work as a journalist. After writing seven books while still a full-time reporter, she left the Baltimore Sun to focus on fiction. She is the author of ten Tess Monaghan novels, five stand-alone novels, and one short story collection. She is also the editor of another story collection, Baltimore Noir. Lippman has won numerous awards for her work, including the  Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe Barry and Macavity.

Thank you to Trish for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this tour. Check out the other stops as well. 

Wednesday, August 25th: Shhh I’m Reading

Thursday, August 26th: Staircase Wit

Monday, August 30th: A Bookworm’s World

Tuesday, August 31st: Thoughts From an Evil Overlord

Thursday, September 2nd: Bibliofreak

Tuesday, September 7th: Proud Book Nerd

Wednesday, September 8th: Books and Movies

Thursday, September 9th: Wordsmithonia

Monday, September 13th: Raging Bibliomania

Tuesday, September 14th: Lesa’s Book Critques

Thursday, September 16th: she reads and reads

Monday, September 20th: My Random Acts of Reading

Tuesday, September 21st: Jen’s Book Thoughts

Wednesday, September 22nd: nomadreader

Thursday, September 23rd: Book Chatter

Monday, September 27th: In the Next Room

Thursday, September 30th: Café of Dreams

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Glad u enjoyed this. It sounds good!

Tales of Whimsy said...

oooo Eliza sounds wayyyyyy to forgiving. Great review! Quite thorough. Bravo!

Heather J. @ TLC Books said...

I'm sorry this wasn't such a success for you but I'm glad you'll be giving the author another chance. Being practically from Baltimore myself, I love hearing about Lippmann's successes. :)

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Ryan said...

I didn't read your review because I'm getting ready to start in on this one. I hope you liked it and I hope I like it.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

I've seen this one around and after reading Still Missing and being absolutely and thoroughly terrified by it just didn't know if I could go through another abduction book...glad I read your review before actually picking it up! Awesome one as always!!!!

CLM said...

I couldn't start reading the other stops on the Tour until I finished my review but I agree with a lot of your reaction - I thought LL was leading up to (spoiler)

Eliza having killed Holly out of jealousy and she would somehow be detained in the prison and Walter would walk free (guilty of killing others but not in that state...). I wonder if the author changed her mind about the ending part of the way through.

If you are a Betsy-Tacy fan, you must travel to Mankato some time to see the houses and other places she wrote about! I spent a lovely few days there last summer.