Hah! You thought you were done seeing reviews of Laura Lippman books on this blog! But Every Secret Thing is a standalone mystery that is not part of the Tess Monaghan detective series.
This dark story from Lippman was inspired by a real crime in which two ten-year-old boys killed a three-year-old boy. In Every Secret Thing, the perpetrators are two eleven-year-old lower class white girls, Alice and Ronnie, and the victim is a nine-month-old baby named Olivia from an upper class black family. Thus, Lippman explores not only the crime and the nature of the juvenile justice system, but also the intersection of race and class in Baltimore County.
Alice and Ronnie are each automatically released from prison at age eighteen, and simultaneously, a rash of child abductions occur. Most of the children reappear shortly after they are taken, until Maveen Little’s three-year-old girl is taken, and she doesn’t return.
Evaluation: Nothing is as straightforward as it seems in this story. Even the twists don’t resolve neatly; the book is in fact more like “real life” than one might want! Interestingly, almost all the characters are female. There is no romance to lighten the mood, nor actually much of anything that lightens the mood. This is a good book, but one that had me longing to go back to the brighter life of Tess Monaghan.
Note: This book won both the Anthony Award (for mystery novels) and the Barry Award (for crime novels) in 2004.
Published by William Morrow, 2003