Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Tour and Review: And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

TITLE:  And When She Was Good
AUTHOR:  Laura Lippman

PUBLISHED BY:  William Morrow (Harper Collins)
PUBLICATION DATE:  August 14th, 2012
ISBN:   ISBN-10: 0061706876  ISBN-13: 978-0061706875
GENRE:  Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
# OF PAGES:  320

I love Laura Lippman books and And When She Was Good did not disappoint.  Ms. Lippman has her own way of building suspense, it's simple, it's deceptive. She creates the story, sucks you right into it and then throws the surprises at you but not in a thriller type way. No her way is more sedate, but definitely wonderful.  I love her books and look forward to her new releases each year so I jumped at the chance to read this one.

I will confess that since it was Laura Lippman, I didn't read the synopsis.  I love her that much and sometimes I don't want to know anything about the book, I like to be surprised.  Well this was a surprise of a good kind.  I enjoyed getting to know Heloise through the present and her past.  I like this style of writing and getting to know the character and building the story.  I could feel the intensity of the storyline building through each chapter as new secrets and facets of Heloise's life were revealed.  I liked Heloise as a character, she's strong, she's been through a lot, but she keeps on moving.  I also like the secondary characters and the facets Ms. Lippman adds to them to tell the story.

The plot was amazing to me.  It's intense without making you feel too edgy and I like that.  It's subtle.  I like that. The focus is on the characters, mainly Heloise and telling her story leading up to the present and what is going on in her life now.  The changes and events of the story.  It's thrilling and wonderful and a great story to me.  It had me enthralled, yet I wanted to carefully read, not scan to hurriedly get to the end.  

This was a book to enjoy, to get the nuances of, not to just read and find out what would happen.  And that is what I did.  I will still admit I read it in a little over a day, but I read it slower than I read a lot of books.  I savored And When She Was Good.  And it was good, I have to say I highly recommend it!

MY RATING: 4.5/5.0

Perennial New York Times and nationally bestselling author and acclaimed multiple–prize winner Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices to save her son and herself. 

When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record. 

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee. 

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can't be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it? 

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know. 

And then she learns that her son's father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn't know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn't realize that he's serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he's clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years. 

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She's done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren't hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

Laura Lippman has been awarded every major prize in crime fiction. Since the publication of What the Dead Know, each of her hardcovers has hit the New York Times bestseller list. A recent recipient of the first-ever Mayor’s Prize, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and New Orleans with her husband, David Simon, their daughter, and her stepson.



PHOTO CREDIT (author):  Jan Cobb

Monday, October 3
The headline catches Heloise’s eye as she waits in the always-long line at the Starbucks closest to her son’s middle school. Of course, a headline is supposed to call attention to itself. That’s its job. Yet these letters are unusually huge, hectoring even, in a typeface suitable for a declaration of war or an invasion by aliens. It’s tacky, tarted up, as much of a strumpet as the woman whose death it’s trumpeting.
Heloise finds it interesting that suicide must be fudged but the label of madam requires no similar restraint, only qualification. She supposes that every madam needs her modifier. Suburban Madam, D.C. Madam, Hollywood Madam, Mayflower Madam. “Madam” on its own would make no impression in a headline, and this is the headline of the day, repeated ad nauseam on every news break on WTOP and WBAL, even the local cut-ins on NPR. Suburban Madam dead in apparent suicide. People are speaking of it here in line at this very moment, if only because the suburb in question is the bordering county’s version of this suburb. Albeit a lesser one, the residents of Turner’s Grove agree. Schools not quite as good, green space less lush, too much lower-cost housing bringing in riffraff. You know, the people who can afford only three hundred thousand dollars for a town house. Such as the Sub­urban Madam, although from what Heloise has gleaned, she lived in the most middle of the middle houses, not so grand as to draw attention to herself but not on the fringes either.
And yes, Heloise knows that because she has followed almost every news story about the Suburban Madam since her initial arrest eight months ago. She knows her name, Michelle Smith, and what she looks like in her mug shot, the only photo of her that seems to exist. Very dark hair—so dark it must be dyed—very pale eyes, otherwise so ordinary as to be any woman anywhere, the kind of stranger who looks familiar because she looks like so many people you know. Maybe Heloise is a little bit of a hypo­crite, decrying the news coverage even as she eats it up, but then she’s not a disinterested party, unlike the people in this line, most of whom probably use “disinterested” incorrectly in conversation yet consider themselves quite bright.

***I received this book from the publisher through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***