The Barnes & Noble Review
This stand-alone thriller from Laura Lippman (To the Power of Three, Every Secret Thing, et al.) revolves around the mysterious disappearance of two young sisters in a Baltimore County shopping mall on Easter weekend in 1975. Still unsolved after more than three decades, the cold case suddenly becomes red hot when a middle-aged woman involved in a car accident informs police that she is Sunny Bethany, one of the sisters who went missing 30 years earlier. But her disjointed story, while factually accurate, raises concerns with Baltimore County cop Kevin Infante, who intuitively knows something isn't quite right.
The investigation is complicated further by the fact that many key players are either dead or suffering from degenerative illnesses. The mysterious woman's horrific account -- an abduction involving a police officer, years of sexual abuse, and the murder of her little sister, Heather -- sounds plausible enough, but when the elderly mother of the missing girls, now living in Mexico, is asked to meet with her alleged daughter, a terrible truth is finally revealed…
Reminiscent of 2005's To the Power of Three, this mystery/thriller features young, outwardly uncorrupted, and surprisingly savvy female protagonists -- and a bombshell of a conclusion that, interestingly enough, ties in with the peripheral theme of the spiritual discipline of the Fivefold Path: liberation through self-knowledge. Sharing similarities with an actual unsolved case that involved the disappearance of two Baltimore-area sisters in 1975, What the Dead Know is vintage Lippman -- emotionally charged, powerfully poignant, and hauntingly sublime. Highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen
If you only know her from her Tess Monaghan series, or if you don't know her work at all, read What the Dead Know. It's an all but flawless performance by a writer at the peak of her powers.
The Washington Post
… What the Dead Know, like the best books in this tradition, is doubly satisfying. You read it once just to move breathlessly toward the finale. Then you revisit it to marvel at how well Ms. Lippman pulled the wool over your eyes.
The New York Times
…as artful as she is at interweaving disarming scenes of two spirited girls on the day they vanished with painful moments in the lives of their parentsmaintaining all the while a thread of continuity in the current-day police investigationLippman pulls off something more ambitious than a high-wire act of technical virtuosity. With great thought and compassion, she uses her fractured narrative style to delve into the ways in which every serious crime tears to shreds the lives of its victims.
The New York Times Book Review
Emond sounds more than a little like Laura Linney, and her plainspoken, occasionally whispery reading of Lippman's disturbing novel of buried secrets often brings the acclaimed actress to mind. Lippman's novel shuttles back and forth between the present, where a middle-aged woman is involved in a hit-and-run accident, and a past in which two girls are abducted from a mall and never seen again. Do the two events have anything to do with each other? Emond brings a sense of quiet force to Lippman's story, her voice imprinted with sadness and a sense of life's tragic surprises. Her reading bridges the unbridgeable gaps between past and present in Lippman's story, offering little in the way of surprises but a marked amount of suppressed, nearly palpable emotion. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 22). (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A woman is found disoriented and wandering the street after a hit-and-run accident. Although the accident is not that serious, police are intrigued by the woman's reluctance to provide identification and her claim to be one of a pair of sisters abducted from a shopping mall 30 years earlier. Following her statement, the woman clams up. No bodies were ever found, and many who worked on the missing sisters' case-including the girls' father-are dead or terminally ill. The story moves back and forth through time with suspenseful pacing as the listener gradually begins to understand the terrible consequences of this event. When the girls' mother is finally located, the dramatic suspense is breathtaking and leads to a finale that is completely plausible and satisfying. Linda Emond gives a wonderful performance, using different voices and accents to bring immediacy to the many characters and circumstances. Her pacing adds to the mystery and never leaves the listener in doubt as to the time frame and setting. Anyone who ever questioned why Lippman has won every major crime fiction prize will stop wondering after hearing this wonderful production. Highly recommended for adult and teen collections.
Adult/High School - After fleeing a car accident, a middle-aged woman with no ID is questioned by both the police and hospital administration. Refusing to reveal her identity (and proof of health insurance), she instead hints that she is the younger of two sisters, Heather and Sunny Bethany, who disappeared the day before Easter in 1975. This gets everyone's attention. She knows both too much and not enough about the case, leading Baltimore police on wild goose chases to Pennsylvania and Georgia, saying just enough to stay out of jail and keep them interested, albeit suspicious. The narrative threads unravel into the various accounts of that Saturday's events, the aftermath of the disappearance, the investigation, and Heather's own increasingly desperate attempts to evade further disclosure. This novel is a page-turner. Tantalizing revelations are dropped at chapter ends before veering into another part of the narrative, back and forth in time. Characters are well defined and varied, each with a different perspective on the nature of grief. Ultimately, after all of the half-truths and deceptions are played out, unexpected but moving forgiveness wins out.-Jenny Gasset, Orange County Public Library, CACopyright 2007 Reed Business Information