Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman was really the first author I read who convinced me I could love a mystery– back in 2010 when I first read her novel, I'd Know You Anywhere. Later, I picked up her short The Girl in the Green Raincoat which is a part of the Tess Monaghan series, which I also enjoyed (though admittedly not quite as much). Still, Lippman is in top form in And When She Was Good another standalone mystery with the same strong writing, intriguing plot, and, in this case an especially smart story.

And When She Was Good is the story of Hector Lewis, a mother who affords her comfortable lifestyle by running an illegal escort business. Hector hasn't had an easy life, but more than anything she wants one for her son. But with everything she's worked so hard for in jeopardy, it may cost Hector more than she ever imagined just to keep her secrets.

Hector isn't the most likable main character. She's complicated, and I loved the back and forth chapters between the present and the past that show where Hector came from and what's she's overcome. If I'd just been introduced to her without them, or if they'd been told as somebody reflecting back instead of somebody experiencing them firsthand, it would have been hard to emotionally connect to her. Instead, as a reader I was able to understand Hector better, having gone through her experiences with her. She's had a hard life, and the result is a hard– but strong– lady. What she also is, is smart. And I found that, in combination with Lippman's skilled writing, to be incredibly refreshing. Of the three books of hers I've read, And When She Was Good was definitely the least "easy" to read. Lippman doesn't just use prostitution as a shocking plot device, she provides real background and research, as well as asking interesting questions and bringing up political issues I did not expect.

Where And When She Was Good was weaker than I'd Know You Anywhere was the plot. It was incredibly predictable, and took a long time to really get started, probably because the book was weighed down by the more intellectual component of it– which I enjoyed, but still, I was expecting more thrill from this thriller. In that sense, I'd call this a literary thriller. And When She Was Good is a great book for readers wanting a little more depth, I just also wanted a few more twists and turns. Overall, though, I loved Lippman's writing, her complicated characters, and her original storyline. I might still not be much of a mystery reader, but for Lippman, I'll definitely be returning to this genre again. 

Release Date: August 14th 2012  Pages: 320  Format: ARC
Also By This Author: I'd Know You Anywhere; The Girl in the Green Raincoat
Source: TLC Book Tours  Publisher: William Morrow  Buy It: Book Depository


  1. This book keeps catching my eye when I go work. I think I am definitely going to give this one a try.

  2. This is an author I really want to try, I am going to go with The Girl in the Green Raincoat first.

    This one is getting pretty good reviews so far.

    1. While I recommend trying Lippman, I'm not sure about starting with the 11th book in a series as a first taste? It was honestly my least favourite of the three, even though it was cute. Just my own thoughts though! I hope you enjoy her regardless.

  3. I know I've read a book by her, but it was a long time ago. I remember thinking she was a good writer and I enjoyed the story. You've made me want to add this one to my list. Sounds good! Thanks.

  4. I've read two of her books and I think this is one I am going to want to add to the list.

  5. I've never read Laura Lippman but feel like I need to give her a shot. I like intellectual reads and a slower plot doesn't bother me if the characters are engrossing.

  6. I'm glad to see that you did enjoy this one in spite of it not quite meeting your expectations. Thanks for being on the tour!


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