When Luisa Brant became the newly elected state’s attorney she thought she had reached the pinnacle of her dreams. Her father had been state’s attorney for the same suburban district of Maryland, which included the planned utopian community of Columbia where Luisa had grown up. So for Luisa to now achieve the same position as her father, whom she idolizes, and to be the first woman to do so is a significant accomplishment.
Just as she is settling into her new office, a new murder case comes in and Luisa decides to take it hoping that a clear win right from the start of her tenure will consolidate her power in her new role. But from the beginning there is something off about the case. A disturbed homeless man is accused of killing a single woman in her own apartment with particular viciousness. Even though he is homeless and his parents are barely surviving themselves, they hire a well known (and expensive) former state’s attorney for his defense. The forensics place the man at the scene and it seems like an air tight case, and yet the accused pleads not guilty. The more Luisa gets into the case the more connections she sees to a case involving the death of one of her brother’s high school classmates.
Her brother had been at the party where the young man died. Her brother and a few others who had been at the party were questioned but never charged. Luisa was very young then, and her memories of that event are hazy at best. But as Luisa digs deeper into her current case, the connections to that incident and death of her brother’s classmate keep coming up and Luisa begins to realize that what she thinks she remembers may not be true at all.
Lippman is a great author and the fact that this book is set in and around Columbia, MD which is so close to where I live, is an extra bonus. Luisa is a strong and complicated character: competitive, self-sufficient, nurturing to those she loves and ruthless with those that get in her way. Lippman, however, does not skimp on the other characters, allowing her brother and her father who play strong supporting roles in this story come to life as well. Told alternating between the present and Luisa’s memories of growing up in Columbia, the book’s strangely bifurcated viewpoint, helps us understand Luisa’s own confusion and dread as the connections between the two cases begin to merge and you know you are in the hands of a master storyteller!
Brenda’s Rating: *****(5 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Lauren, Marian. and Keith
Book Study Worthy? Yes
Read in ebook format.