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Life Sentences    by Laura Lippman order for
Life Sentences
by Laura Lippman
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Best known for her Tess Monaghan crime series, Laura Lippman has shown she's more than a one-trick pony. As Life Sentences illustrates, the Baltimore author's stand-alone novels are very good and well worth reading.

This latest story combines a riveting plot, complex relationships, and memorable characters in a story set on the writer's home turf. Cassandra Fallows has already penned two tell-all memoirs, and she's about to go to the well again for another book that involves someone she once knew.

Returning to her hometown, Baltimore, the writer plans to do a story on a classmate who was accused, but not convicted, of killing her own child years before.

While digging into the event that happened two decades ago, Cassandra finds herself reevaluating her own past. Encountering three childhood friends and traipsing down Memory Lane with them, Cassandra comes to understand racial tensions she had not fully grasped as a young girl growing up in the city. And, more to the point, she also digs up some material that exposes the defining moment in her own family's history.

Readers who enjoy psychological novels will find this tale that touches upon the blurry line that separates memory from myth and self-delusion a delight. Laura Lippman has already won all the major prizes in the mystery field (the Edgar, Shamus, Agatha, Anthony and Nero Wolfe awards), but books like Life Sentences show she'd intends to add to her collection!

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Laura Lippman but, that being said, I'd have to give this book a thumb's up for entertainment value. She did keep me in the story from start to finish.

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