Customer Reviews for

What the Dead Know

Average Rating 3.5
( 122 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(17)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Mystery and lies!

A hit and run on a Maryland highway, and a very cold murder case heats up. The police pick up the woman driver, who has a minor head injury, and the story she begins to tell is stunning. She knows so much about the disappearance of a pair of sisters more than 15 years a...
A hit and run on a Maryland highway, and a very cold murder case heats up. The police pick up the woman driver, who has a minor head injury, and the story she begins to tell is stunning. She knows so much about the disappearance of a pair of sisters more than 15 years ago, so she must know what she's talking about. The trouble is, she refuses to identify herself.
Laura Lippman teases her readers with one electifying discovery after another, not releasing us from suspense until the final surprising chapter. This is a literate, thinking person's mystery, with layers of nuance, characters so genuine, you might wish you knew them, and an intricate, credible plot that never lets up for a minute. She skillfully presents the unsolved crime from the point of view of those most fully involved, from the victims to the perpetrators to the police. This is top notch crime writing, and I'll be checking out Lippman's other titles. This book is a hit with me.

posted by BANCHEE_READS on October 26, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

I hated Heather Bethany. And not just a little bit either. Even

I hated Heather Bethany. And not just a little bit either. Even though she had her reasons for her half-truths and lies, reasons that become apparent later, I still found it hard to forgive her. Since much of WHAT THE DEAD KNOW revolves around her, this proved a slightl...
I hated Heather Bethany. And not just a little bit either. Even though she had her reasons for her half-truths and lies, reasons that become apparent later, I still found it hard to forgive her. Since much of WHAT THE DEAD KNOW revolves around her, this proved a slightly difficult obstacle for me to overcome. Yet, Laura Lippman proved up to the challenge with an engrossing story that spanned decades and bounced back and forth in time like a shooting star set on repeat.

Despite the back and forth, I found it relatively easy to follow. But I still felt like there was something missing. It was a good story with an interesting premise, yet I never became fully invested in the story itself. And for that I blame the main character. She could have used a heart transplant and a lie detector test.

Nevertheless, all was not lost. Sympathetic characters existed in this tale; they just needed a backstage pass. Had Kay and Nancy stepped up to the microphone a bit more often, usurping their relatively minor positions, this novel would have been a more enjoyable read.

Robert Downs
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

posted by RobertDowns on February 28, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 123 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 7
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Mystery and lies!

    A hit and run on a Maryland highway, and a very cold murder case heats up. The police pick up the woman driver, who has a minor head injury, and the story she begins to tell is stunning. She knows so much about the disappearance of a pair of sisters more than 15 years ago, so she must know what she's talking about. The trouble is, she refuses to identify herself.<BR/>Laura Lippman teases her readers with one electifying discovery after another, not releasing us from suspense until the final surprising chapter. This is a literate, thinking person's mystery, with layers of nuance, characters so genuine, you might wish you knew them, and an intricate, credible plot that never lets up for a minute. She skillfully presents the unsolved crime from the point of view of those most fully involved, from the victims to the perpetrators to the police. This is top notch crime writing, and I'll be checking out Lippman's other titles. This book is a hit with me.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    A good read

    The author skips around in this book quite a bit, and that was a little confusing to me in the beginning. However, by doing this she makes each character interesting and real to you. Of course, they all tie together in the end and you understand why all the "skipping" around in the character's lives was essential to the story. A good twist in the end that you may or may not see coming.

    This is the first book of Laura Lippman's I've read, but it certainly won't be my last.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 28, 2013

    I hated Heather Bethany. And not just a little bit either. Even

    I hated Heather Bethany. And not just a little bit either. Even though she had her reasons for her half-truths and lies, reasons that become apparent later, I still found it hard to forgive her. Since much of WHAT THE DEAD KNOW revolves around her, this proved a slightly difficult obstacle for me to overcome. Yet, Laura Lippman proved up to the challenge with an engrossing story that spanned decades and bounced back and forth in time like a shooting star set on repeat.

    Despite the back and forth, I found it relatively easy to follow. But I still felt like there was something missing. It was a good story with an interesting premise, yet I never became fully invested in the story itself. And for that I blame the main character. She could have used a heart transplant and a lie detector test.

    Nevertheless, all was not lost. Sympathetic characters existed in this tale; they just needed a backstage pass. Had Kay and Nancy stepped up to the microphone a bit more often, usurping their relatively minor positions, this novel would have been a more enjoyable read.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Excellent Suspenseful Read!

    I really enjoy a great mystery novel and my friend recommended this book. The main character "Heather" was sort of a ringer. Normally, if the author is skilled in their writing I will find myself rooting for this character, but that didn't happen until near the end of the story which was a little late. While I'm on the subject of the ending, well it was a bit of a let down. But I don't want to give the impression that this was a terrible novel, because it wasn't. The plot will keep you reading page after page and it's certainly an excellent, suspenseful read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Harriet klausner

    Another book ruined by harriet klausner and her cliff note book report. She totally ruins every book she supposedly reviews. Bn, please ban this poster and delete all of her ruinious plot spoiling posts. She is the absolute worst of all the plot spoilers here. It is because of her that so many plot spoilers give away the entire plot line and think they can get away with it.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    superb police procedural

    In Baltimore County, Maryland the Valiant skids on the icy oil slick nudging an SUV that flips down an embankment. The Valiant driver fails to stop until she is away from the accident scene with her car suffering front fender damage. She pulls onto the shoulder and begins walking from her automobile with her ribs hurting her. A patrolman stops her and reads her rights to her for leaving the scene of an accident. She claims to be one of the Bethany girls, but realizes he is too young to know what that revelation means. Her claim with no substantiation cannot be ignored by the police so Detective Kevin Infante, due to missing roll call, is assigned to investigate whether she is a wacko as expected. The two Bethany sisters, fifteen year old Sunny and twelve year old Heather, vanished three decades without a trace while going to a mall. Her story has some validity and a ring of plausibility to it, but also lacks key details though she swears Sunny¿s neck was broken in front of her. Kevin knows he must make further inquires because she asserts her sibling was murdered back in 1975. --- WHAT THE DEAD KNOW is a superb police procedural that effortlessly moves back and forth between the present and 1975. This enables the audience to obtain a variety of perspectives of what happened to the Bethany sisters when they vanished and compare that with the way ¿Heather¿ thinks and behaves today. The investigation is top rate, but this stand alone mystery (no Tess Monaghan) belongs to the claimant as the audience will want to know if she is the real deal, a nut case or a fake trying to avoid the car accident. The climax is superbly perceived with clues throughout leading to a reasonable conclusion to a great thriller. --- Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not thrilled

    I could not find much likeable with ANY of the characters in this book. Therefore, though I finished it I could not have cared much less. I thought it was depressing with a bit of a snap ending. I didn't feel much flow, and as I said, it was hard to give a darn about the characters. Kind of a let down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2008

    don't start here

    I think Lippman is one of the most accomplished astonishingly interesting writers of almost any kind. I don't know what happened with this one, but my basic reaction was that it's just an unpleasant book. Dark, boring, too drawn out, almost silly, and a big who cares at the end. I enjoyed the Infante character here but the rest of them were really off. I have read every one of other books before this and they are all superb. So don't start here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Editor needed!

    I did finish this book but it was difficult to do so. The story dragged on and on. Also, I found some grammer to be distracting and frustrating (ie, I am a police or I chose to be a police).

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 13, 2012

    An excellent read. Very well drawn characters and an emotional d

    An excellent read. Very well drawn characters and an emotional depth that I wasn't expecting. Thirty years have gone by since the Bethany sisters went missing. The impact of disappearance is keenly felt by all, even when it reopened with the sudden and mysterious appearance of a woman claiming to be the younger sister. This book rewards patience and close reading with its ending. I was able to piece it together the identity of the mystery woman well before the ending, but not the actual circumstances of their disappearance. A truly gripping read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The ending was somewhat interesting, but it should not have take

    The ending was somewhat interesting, but it should not have taken almost 400 pages to get there. I wound up skipping a lot of pages which seemed unnecessary. Not recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2011

    Suspenseful and well-written

    This page turner follows the story of 2 sisters who mysteriously disappeared in the 1970s, and now, in present day, a woman is claiming to be one of the sisters. The book is largely about a crime but it isn't your typical "crime novel" and because of that, it will appeal to many many readers. It's more of a human drama. It's well-written and keeps you thinking. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2010

    Boring!!

    This book was soooooooooo BORING!! I did not want to even finish it! I kept reading because I thought --it has to get Better!! but it never did! I would Not ! waste my time on it!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    On Easter weekend in 1975 two sisters disappeared. Eleven year old Heather Bethany and her 15-year-old sister, Sunny, had gone to the mall, Security Mall, and vanished without a trace although there would be rumors, '...sightings of the girls as far away as Georgia, bogus ransom demands, fears of cults and counterculturists. After all, Patty Hearst had been taken just the year before. Kidnapping was big in the seventies.' Time passes, some thirty years, and a woman flees the scene of a traffic accident. Later she's found wandering, apparently deranged, without any money or identification. She's taken to St. Agnes Hospital, checked in as a Jane Doe because if she knows who she is she refuses to say. Thus begins Edgar Award winning author Laura Lippman's riveting story about a family, once a strong, loving unit or were they? Detective Kevin Infante is dispatched to the hospital to question the mysterious woman. He doesn't go eagerly as Infante is a tough cop, cynical, a memorable character who views the world and many of its inhabitants with a jaundiced eye. When the woman still refuses to speak his solution is to send her to jail. Kay Sullivan, the social worker at St. Agnes, is the one person who befriends the woman, and when the woman says, 'I'm going to say a name. It's a name you'll know,' Kay is convinced Heather Bethany has surfaced after some three decades. But Infante doesn't believe this for a minute. How to prove whether she is Heather or not? The police decide finding the mother of the Bethany girls is their only hope. But, would a mother recognize her daughter after this length of time? Lippman who was a news reporter at the Baltimore Sun again sets her story in Baltimore, a city she obviously loves and knows well. Her narrative is meticulously crafted, moving in time from the day the girls disappeared to the present time. As scenes change readers are made aware of what the parents went through following the loss of their daughters, their attempts to cope and the final impact on them. This author creates some of the most vivid characters to be found on a page, and again presents a story that haunts. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2015

    meh

    it was ok - the plot did not get going for me until about half way through

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2015

    She does it once again

    I can't say enough good things about LL's books and this one didn't disappoint.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2014

    Recommend

    This was an interesting story. Sometimes the story line was a little hard to follow but it may have been because I didn't have a chunk of time to sit and read. The girl that gets kidnapped is bizzare, and the ending isn't what I was expecting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Great book

    I really liked this book. Although the ending was predictable, it was a very enjoyable read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    don't bother reading

    poorly written

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Bo 1

    Im goin

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 123 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 7