“This is a standout. And the story of children in jeopardy and innocence lost is sadly all too timely.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
When two 11-year-old white girls kill a toddler, the granddaughter of a beloved back judge, it's not only shocking -- it's news. The girls' motives are muddled, and they disagree about which one of them killed the child, but Alice Manning and Ronnie Fuller both are found guilty and sentenced to spend the rest of their childhood in jail. The penal code can do no more, so seven years later Alice and Ronnie are released to begin their lives again…if they can. At first, when children start to disappear, they're quickly found unharmed, so the kidnappings go almost unnoticed -- until one little girl, also a toddler and the sister of the judge's murdered granddaughter, vanishes without a trace. Her mother is frantic -- and certain she knows whom to blame. The press and the police are swamped, digging into the evidence, past and present. Alice's lawyer is rushing to her defense. Ronnie is on the run. And the baby's time is running out…. Every Secret Thing is a powerful, intricately plotted stand-alone suspense novel from the author of the award-winning Tess Monaghan mystery series. Sue Stone
When Lippman finally provides a full explanation for these puzzling disappearances, along with the motives for the original crime, she does so artfully, drawing from her intensive psychological scrutiny of Alice and Ronnie, their mothers and social workers, and a bereaved woman who still wants vengeance for the loss of her child.
… unraveling the mystery isn't Lippman's main concern. Instead, she seems more interested in exploring the psychology of two very different girls, one who would do anything -- literally -- to fit in with her peers and another who seems almost perversely incapable of doing so. Neither Alice nor Ronnie is particularly likable, but Lippman renders both girls with real sensitivity and insight. The image of the pair arguing over whether there's a desert in Oz is a priceless delight, though one shot through with more than a hint of malice. Shannon Zimmerman
With this engrossing mystery/suspense stand-alone novel, Lippman, winner of the Edgar, Shamus and Agatha awards for her series featuring likable heroine Tess Monaghan (Baltimore Blues; Charm City; The Last Place) solidifies her position in the upper tier of today's suspense novelists. Two 11-year-old children-good girl Alice Manning and bad girl Ronnie Fuller-wander homeward in Baltimore after being kicked out of a friend's pool party. They discover a baby in an unattended carriage by the front door of a house and steal it away. The reader watches in horror, knowing what will come next. The baby dies, and Alice and Ronnie are imprisoned for seven years. The mystery involves which girl did the killing, and which was the dupe. After release from prison, their blighted lives move inexorably toward further horror and tragedy. Lippman slowly relinquishes the facts of her story, building suspense as she reveals the past. Her well-honed prose is particularly suited to descriptions that impart more than just appearances: "Holly was one of those people who seemed to be put together with higher quality parts than everyone else"; "...there was something menacing in the very fineness of his bones, as if a bigger boy had been boiled down until all that remained was this concentrated bit of rage and bile." With this book, much darker than any in her past series, Lippman shows she is an author willing to take risks in both writing and storytelling. Her deft handling of this disturbing material is sure to increase the breadth of her readership. (Sept. 2) Forecast: Look for this one to garner critical praise with a sales boost to follow. Fans will hope to see series hero Tess Monaghan-who seemed a bit tired in her last outing-back on the page soon, reinvigorated from her time off. Major ad/promo; eight-city author tour. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
With her first stand-alone novel (after seven mysteries featuring Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan, the latest being The Last Place), Lippman proves equally adept at character-based psychological suspense. Seven years after Olivia Barnes, a black baby from a prominent family, dies at the hands of two 11-year-old white girls, children start disappearing for brief periods. Then a three-year-old is presumed kidnapped, with bloody evidence left behind. Suspicion points toward the two girls convicted of the earlier crime, now newly released from juvenile detention: Alice Manning, the "good girl" who claimed she was not there when Olivia died, and Ronnie Fuller, the "bad girl" and presumed murderer. This is not easy subject matter, with children as both victims and perpetrators, but the novel is notable not only for Lippman's skill in creating complex female characters-particularly the mothers of Olivia and Alice as well as the two girls themselves-but also for her subtle way of building suspense by ever so gradually revealing the true accounts of both the earlier and the current crimes. Essential for popular fiction collections, particularly for fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters.-Michele Leber, formerly with Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The creator of Tess Monaghan (The Last Place, 2002, etc.) crosses over in a chilling study of mothers, daughters, love, and murder. It sure wasn't what her wealthy parents had in mind when they sent her to study art in Baltimore, but Helen Manning thought single motherhood would be a kick. Too bad her job as an art teacher hadn't paid enough to buy a pool membership, forcing 11-year-old Alice to spend summers playing with public-school kids like Ronnie Fuller. Some days Ronnie was Good Ronnie, some days she was Bad Ronnie. One day, when they got sent home early from a pool party for misbehaving, Ronnie and Alice found Olivia Barnes, left asleep in her carriage on the porch by a careless babysitter. Now that they've been released, seven years later, by the juvenile-justice system for their unthinkable part in her murder, Olivia's mother, Cynthia Barnes, breaks her part of the plea bargain arranged by Sharon Kerpelman, Alice's public defender, stipulating that the names of the accused minors would never become public. Cynthia, daughter of one of Baltimore's most revered black judges, feels she has to protect her new baby Rosalind, conceived even as she mourned Olivia's loss. So when three-year-old Brittany Little disappears from Value City while her less-than-swift mother Maveen turns her back "for just a minute," Cynthia calls not only county detective Nancy Porter, but ambitious Beacon-Light reporter Mira Jenkins, who's dying to get back downtown after being rusticated for failing to check a story that was an obvious hoax. Hunted by press and police alike, Alice and Ronnie cross paths once more in a struggle to keep secret what just may turn deadly. Lucid, tight, and compelling. It'sLippman's gift to show the Good Ronnie and Bad Ronnie in every one of her characters, leaving no one unscathed and no one unredeemed. Author tour