Laura Lippman. If you haven’t heard of her yet, you soon will. Laura is a crime superstar on the other side of the pond, and has won almost every prize given for crime fiction in the United States. Last week, she headlined at the Harrogate Crime Festival, with her brilliant new novel, The Innocents, tucked under her arm.
To quote a certain Mr Mark Billingham, “The Innocents is compelling, suspenseful – everything a great thriller should be – but it is SO much more than that…Laura Lippman is not just the author of top-notch psychological thrillers, she is one of the finest writers in America. Simple as that.”
He’s not wrong you know. But what’s it all about?
A dark, provocative and beautifully written story of troubled adults and the torment of a shared childhood secret. An age ago, they were the best of friends. But as time passed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past – and the terrible lies they shared. But now Gordon, the youngest and wildest of the five, has died and the others are thrown together for the first time in years. Could their long-ago lie be the reason for their troubles today? As the strain of keeping the secret begins to wear down on their souls, is it more dangerous to admit to the truth?
Here at Killer Reads, we’re offering you the chance to have a little tete-a-tete with Laura. Simply write your questions in the comments and we’ll pitch the five best to Laura herself. You’ve got two weeks to get your questions to us and the winning submissions will have their questions answered by Laura on the Killer Reads blog and win their own copy of The Innocents! Hurrah! So get writing now…
“25 years ago he stole her innocence, now he knows where she lives…”
From the author of To The Power of Three and the Tess Monoghan series, comes Don’t Look Back, a gripping and intriguing story of memory and murder.
Eliza Benedict leads a simple, quiet family life in the leafy suburbs of Washington. But her world is set to come crashing down around her as she receives a letter from the man who abducted and sexually abused her as a teenager. Now on death row, Walter Bowman, a serial killer and kidnapper, is looking to reach out to Eliza; the victim who lived.
The novel is constructed as two parallel narratives; beginning in the present where we meet Eliza for the first time. She is a mother and wife who has just returned to the USA after following her husband’s career to London and is finding it difficult to connect with her role as a suburban American. This narrative is intertwined with chapters based in 1985 and the tale of her abduction by Walter Bowman as well as his previous encounters with other young women whom he abused and murdered.
The parallel story-lines allow us to connect with both Eliza as a woman whilst also understanding Elizabeth as a teenager. This also allows us to see Walter from both the perspective of killer and abductor as well as his incarcerated present self. Both Walter and Eliza are extremely complex characters who do not conform to generic archetypes of hero and villain. The psychology of both is so well explained through their conversations as well as the use of ‘flashback’ chapters that we are presented with a truly unique example of the victim/abductor relationship.
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.
Laura grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.
Laura returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller and her husband is David Simon who created hit TV series The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street.
Visit Laura Lippman’s official site
Here are a selection of Laura’s titles. Click on the jacket for more information.