Book Review: What the Dead Know

What the Dead Know

Laura Lippman

Avon A

400 pages

There was something about the description of this book that really did nothing for me.  That, coupled with the lackluster cover (for whatever reason, I really dislike this cover), turned me off about this book.  However, as I have mentioned before I am on a mystery kick and I began to notice great reviews for this one here and there, so I decided to give it a whirl.  That was a great choice folks, as this is really a novel worth reading.

The book opens with a pretty serious car accident.  One of the drivers leaves the scene and is found walking about a mile from the accident.  She is admitted to the hospital where she makes the claim that she is a girl that has been missing for thirty years.

Heather and Sunny Bethany disappear in the mid-1970’s when they take the bus to the mall.  They are both seen at the mall but when their father arrives at 5pm to pick them up it as if they disappeared into thin air. No one at the mall noticed anything suspicious and there seem to be no leads.  Decade upon decade the disappearance is a mystery and the girls are pretty much given up for dead.

Now a woman claiming to be Heather Bethany is back in town and refusing to talk.  She admits to being Heather but plays a game of cat and mouse with the detectives when it comes to giving any information.

I really didn’t like Heather at all.  She just rubbed me the wrong way because she seemed to have no desire to help put an end to the mystery that had been plaguing this town for thirty years.  Instead, she was contrary and petulant and seemed like she just wanted to play games.  It wasn’t until her mother showed up that she finally began talking.

I thought the mystery aspect of this book was great.  Is she Heather Bethany?  Is she not?  I was pretty convinced that she wasn’t an imposter but I also knew there had to be something fishy going on.  Not to mention, I wanted to know what had happened thirty years ago and where this woman had been all that time.  I will tell you this—I wasn’t let down.  I know others found the end a bit lackluster or they were irritated that they had figured the ending out before the secrets and details were unveiled.  The reason I like mysteries so much is because I am no sleuth.  I would be the worst detective you could ever imagine.  So you will not be surprised to hear that the ending slapped me in the face—that’s how oblivious I was to what was coming.  On the other hand, I can see how someone would be able to figure it out before getting to the end.

I wouldn’t classify this as a big thriller.  Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s not as in your face.  You should read it though because it’s got literary elements and isn’t just an in-your-face mystery where there’s tons of action every second.  This would be a great pool read!

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I borrowed this book from my local library.

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4 Responses

  1. Now I want to read this one just to see if I’ll guess the ending! lol

  2. As a more or less new fan of mysteries, I’m curious about this one. And I confess that I too have put off reading what turned out to be great books because of meh covers 😛

  3. This sounds just sounds perfect for my upcoming trip to Hawaii! 🙂

  4. This sounds like a perfect read as a break from the classics I’ve been working on.

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