I am really enjoying Laura Lippman’s books! “What the Dead Know” was one of the first I read and I was immediately impressed with her insightful writing, her well developed characters and the role that Baltimore plays in each of her books.
The Most Dangerous Thing is another great book, a stand alone story about some kids, the woods in Leakin Park and the consequences of what happened one summer.
The story opens with a terrible car crash and the uncertainty of whether or not Gordon, who was driving drunk meant to kill himself or whether it was just sheer stupidity that made him race down the road and hit the Jersey wall. As his friends and family come together to mourn his loss, they discover that they are still reaping the consequences of what happened in the the summer of 1978.
Gwen and Mickey became good friends, although Gwen’s mother wasn’t too keen on their friendship, and during that summer of 1978 they are hanging out and exploring the woods behind Gwen’s home, which Mikey loves. And then they met the “wild” Halloran brothers: Tim, Sean and Gordon or Go-Go as they called him. It was during that summer that they really got to know each other and it was also that summer that broke them apart. For as Gwen says, “Our parents allowed us to roam the thickly wooded hillside of Leakin Park while warning us if its dangers… They tried, they really tried to anticipate everything that could bring us harm. But it was us in our naivete’ and heedlessness, who were to be feared. We were the most dangerous thing in the woods.”
Lippman’s finely crafted book is a delight to read. She captures the innocence of childhood and those lazy days of summer where there is nothing to do, but each days seems filled with adventure. She fully develops all her characters, but Gwen and Sean seem to particularly shine, especially in the grown up versions of themselves. Lippman is particularly gifted at grounding her story in the reality of Baltimore and in a time and place that she has lived, which adds another level of realism to her story. If you have not read Lippman yet, then you are in for a wonderful and this book is a great place to start!
Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Marian and Keith
Book Study Worthy: Yes
Read in ebook format.