Laura Lippman: A NOLA Tale of Intrigue

by Nola

Every so often, I get an email via this blog to receive a free copy of a book if I am interested in reading it and would consider writing a review of it.  I’ve always turned these offers down, mainly because each book’s description, for one reason or another, did not, well, blow my skirt up.  And I would feel bad if I got the free book then couldn’t bring myself to finish it or I did finish it and did not have anything positive to write about it, and how awkward that would be.  This email proved to be the exception:

Award winning author Laura Lippman is back with another gripping tale of suspense, her new stand-alone novel I’d Know You Anywhere, on sale 8/17. This is sure to be Lippman’s biggest hit yet, and a must-read for anyone who loves a good mystery and psychological suspense novel!

I love “gripping tales of suspense” and am a sucker for a “good mystery and psychological suspense novel.”  I did my research, found the author and publisher were legit, and asked for the book, which went on top of my night stand queue as I finished another novel.  Meanwhile, a co-worker mentioned the compilation “New Orleans Noir,” a new one to me, when I asked him to name some of his favorite NOLA fiction for my Top Ten NOLA Reads post.

Two weeks later, I had finally started reading “I’d Know You Anywhere,” and the next day my co-worker brought me his copy of “New Orleans Noir” to read.  I casually flipped through the pages and the name of one of the contributing authors caught my eye: Laura Lippman. What the?  Was she from NOLA?  If so, how had I never heard of her? Hrmm.

That night, I continued reading her book, putting aside the oddity of her appearance in the Noir book.  “I’d Know You Anywhere” is about a woman, Eliza, who was kidnapped when she was fifteen by a man, Walter, now on Death Row for raping and killing other young girls.  Walter has extended contact to Eliza, and of course such a thing has Eliza rattled.  She discusses it all with her husband, Peter.  And then I read this passage:

Over time, of course, she had told him more, in greater detail.  Peter never wondered why she was the lucky one.  He took it for granted that she was, and he was glad for it.  “We don’t ponder why lightening strikes where it does,” he said once.  Later, after a London-based magazine had asked him to file dispatches from New Orleans on the first anniversary of Katrina, he had written beautiful passages about the levees, human-designed and maintained systems that had failed spectacularly.  He described how arbitrary water was, destroying one neighborhood, while leaving another relatively intact.  He never said as much, but Eliza believed he had written those words for her, that it was a sonnet of sorts, more proof that Peter understood.  Walter was a natural disaster made catastrophic by human failures.  She had been on one side of the levee, Holly on the other.  Don’t ask why.

Ok. SERIOUSLY. Who *IS* this Laura Lippman?  People don’t just toss out Katrina analogies, or at least not thoughtful, positive ones full of retrospection, without there being that love that NOLA evokes in people.  Knowing nothing more of Lippman at this point, it was clear she KNEW New Orleans, that she *got* the city and her denizens.

So, the researcher in me kicked into high gear and I dug around.  She started her writing career as a newspaper reporter.  She married her second husband several years ago.  Her husband has occasional business in New Orleans.  Consequently, they bought a second home here.

There it was. Her New Orleans connection.

Oh, and her husband? He’s another former news reporter (they both wrote for the Baltimore Sun) whose business in New Orleans happens to be making HBO’s “Treme.”  Yup, Ms. Lippman is Mrs. David Simon.

I swear this string of coincidences ala Six Degrees of Separation is so typical of New Orleans, I had to laugh.  How many times, HOW MANY TIMES, do you meet someone new and within a short period of talking about where you each went to high school and what part of town you each grew up in (THE New Orleans questions), do you realize that your older brother dated your new friend’s sister?  Or her aunt is your cousin’s wife?  Or she taught your nephew Freshman Social Studies?  Everyone in this damn town is connected to everyone else.  And usually in far less than six degrees.  And now the same is true of Ms. Lippman, who still feels new to the city.

I finished her book AND have had the opportunity to talk to her (!) about her book, her New Orleans, and much more.  I’ll tell you about all of that in the next couple of posts.

Do you find this intriguing?  A “gripping tale of suspense”? Does this sort of mystery get you excited? Well, “I’d Know You Anywhere” may well be the perfect read for you.  And I have TWO hardbacks to give away.  If you want a chance to win, just leave me a comment and tell me some of your favorite mystery writers.  Or private eye works.  Or other books of intrigue that were STILL with you long after you were done reading them.

Laura Lippman will be doing a reading at the Garden District Book Shop on October 9th.  So this little giveaway ends Thursday, September 30, so that you’ll have her book in time to attend her reading and have her sign your new book!

Really, this is grand book with a great mysterious NOLA connection. Once you read it, you’ll WANT to hear her read it.  I know I do.  So leave those comments and come to the reading!

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