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And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Laura Lippman's stories aren't just mysteries; they are deeply moving explorations of the human heart. She is quite simply one of the best crime novelists writing today."
--Tess Gerritsen, author of The Mephisto Club
Already praised as "a writing powerhouse" (USA Today) and "among the select group of novelists who have invigorated the crime fiction arena with smart, innovative, and exciting work" (George Pelecanos), New York Times bestseller Laura Lippman is constantly sending reviewers back to their thesauruses in search of new and greater accolades. Her brilliant stand-alone novel, And When She Was Good, only reinforces the fact that she stands tall among today's bestselling elite--including Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Jodi Picoult, and Harlan Coben (who raves, "I love her books ") Based on her acclaimed, multi-award-nominated short story Scratch a Woman, And When She Was Good is the powerfully gripping, intensely emotional story of a suburban madam, a convicted murderer whose sentence is about to be overturned, and the child they will both do anything to keep. Lippman has already won virtually every prize the mystery genre has to offer--the Edgar(R), Anthony, Agatha, and Nero Wolfe Awards, to name but a few. They'll now have to invent a few new awards just to keep up with her.
Goodreads Summary

Heloise has had a difficult past.  Emotionally abused as a child, Heloise has used some of this abuse as a way to make herself stronger and to build up her "professional" life later on.  While she appears to have a regular job and manages to be a wonderful mother, Heloise is working both by day and night.  She is now a Madam and somewhat in control of her own situation.  Unfortunately, outside forces will decide her fate if she doesn't figure out the mystery fast.

Heloise's character was nice enough, but hard to connect with in some ways.  She is a good mother, caring for her child above all, but her disregard for some of the other characters casts aspersions on her own character.  The reader will feel bad for her, her past makes her sympathetic.  The other characters range from irredeemable to integral to the story.  Val Deluca, a pimp and someone connected to Heloise via her child, is truly evil.  He doesn't care for anyone except himself and disposes of those who displease him.  Luckily, Val is locked in jail, though that doesn't stop Heloise from visiting him.  Will Heloise ever move on and will Val's mysterious hold on her be explained?

Overall, this book was a suspenseful read.  Every piece of the story is of some importance, the author doesn't just throw down random information or characters.  The world of prostitutes and madams is an interesting one, the reader will be able to tell the author did her research.  The characters have depth, even though Heloise is hard to warm up to, the reader will still care about her.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. CMash said...:

    Nice review and post!! Good job! Thank you!

  1. You mention that "Heloise's character was nice enough, but hard to connect with in some ways" but I think that's intentional on the part of the author. The character has had to build walls around her to protect her, not necessarily physically but mentally and emotionally. Those walls are part of the character and what I think you're perceiving as a reader.

  1. Nancy said...:

    I interpreted the disconnection as intentional, too. This wasn't a favorite read but the subject matter kept me interested.

  1. Mona said...:

    Thanks for your review :)

    I have read only 1 book of Lippman's so far, TO THE POWER OF 3, and I own several others.

    I like that every character has some relevance to her plot and are not just random and superfluous.

    Also, the world of pimps/madams is fascinating yet scary.

  1. Chelsea B. said...:

    I LOVE when, in a book, every small thing has a meaning. I love that. I will be looking into this novel! Great review!

  1. Susan T. said...:

    I haven't read any of her books yet but I love mysteries so she's definitely on my TBR list!