It was the Summer of 1985 and Elizabeth Lerner was 15 and trying to live her life by her own rules. When she spies a young man, Walter Bowman, burying his latest victim, she is kidnapped and held for the next 6 weeks. It will become the defining moment in her life and one that she has tried to put behind her.
Over twenty years later and now know as Eliza Benedict, a loving wife and mother, she has done that to the best of her ability. When she receives a note from Walter, who is about to be put to death for his crimes, asking to speak to her, her life is thrown for a loop.
Laura Lippman has crafted what should have been an emotionally compelling journey of what happens when a victim is forced to deal with her past and the man who victimized her. The bones of the story were there. You had a compelling character in Eliza who for the last 20 years has lived her life, trying to deal with what happened to her as a teenager. She was Walter's only victim to have lived to tell her tale or kidnapping and rape but overall she has overcome and triumphed over her ordeal. When she receives the letter from Walter she is thrust back into analyzing her feelings and what she feels is needed for her to finally have closure.
Where this story lost me is in the emotional aspect of the story. I didn't feel any emotion from the characters, I read the emotion, but I didn't feel it. There was almost no conflict or tension coming off the page in any tangible way. Even when I knew Walter was trying to manipulate Eliza to get her to do his bidding once again, I couldn't take it seriously. I knew what I should be feeling, what I should be thinking of him, but that's all it was for me. I knew I should feel something, but I didn't.
Where, for me, that lack of emotional connection really affected my enjoyment of the story was during the flashback scenes of Eliza's abduction. The author paints those scenes in a way that left me not caring about what's going on. I want to feel concern, anger, and fear for a child who is being held and manipulated against her will. I want to feel the characters fear billowing off the page. Instead this felt like I was watching a really badly acted Lifetime movie starring Tori Spelling. You know the ones I'm talking about, where the actors are saying the lines but you don't believe a damn word they are saying.
Now I know that this isn't a deal breaker for a lot of readers, for me it is. I want the emotional connection to come from the characters, not the author telling me what I should feel. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the concept was there and it just fell flat in the execution. I appreciated the idea behind the book and since I know a lot of my fellow mystery lovers enjoy her work, I'm more than willing to read another one of her books. My issues with the book aside, I would still recommend this one to anyone who is wanting a light quick read that will give the rush a thriller does but won't put too much of an emotional drain on them.
I would like to thank Trish of TLC Booktours for the opportunity to read and review this book.
To learn more about Laura Lippman and her career as a journalist and writer please take the time to visit her website and say hi on her Facebook page.
I would also encourage everyone to take the time to visit the other stops on the tour to discover other opinions and thoughts.
This will qualify for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by Carolyn of Book Chick City.
It is such a shame that there was not more of an emotional connect here because as you say the bones of the story sound excellent
Oh, that's too bad, Ryan...I usually enjoy this author's books and I was looking forward to this one.
But I have to care about the characters and feel things...so I may just skip this one.
I had a somewhat similar reaction to the other Lippman I read (Life Sentences). It didn't really work for me, but I wanted to read more. I'm a later stop on this tour and curious to see how this one compares with Life Sentences.
I'm sorry this book didn't work out for you, but thanks for being a part of the tour - we appreciate hearing your opinions.
It's a shame this didn't work for you. I haven't read anything by Lippman yet, but I'm still going to keep her on my list.
When I don't feel any emotions that is a total turnoff for me. I've heard mixed things about her writing, not necessarily this one but her other novels. I still would probably read it sometime but only by checking it out from the library!
I need that connection too, so I know what you mean. It can be such a turning point for me when it happens
I agree with you Ryan. I am still going to read more by her because I like her mystery series but this one fell short for me too.
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