Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
The bestselling author of the acclaimed standalones After I’m Gone, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, challenges our notions of memory, loyalty, responsibility, and justice in this evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.
As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?
The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.
Wilde Lake was the kind of book that I couldn’t put down once I started to read, and I stayed up past my bedtime one night to finish it.
I enjoyed the way the story switched between the past and present, and I was really drawn into the two mysteries. I wanted to know how/if they were connected, and was definitely trying to put all the pieces together and solve everything, but was unable to do so.
This was an entertaining read, but I didn’t find myself emotionally connecting to the characters or really invested in the story and its outcome. I just wanted to solve the mysteries! As for where it stands with the other Laura Lipmann books that I’ve read, I’d Know You Anywhere is still my favourite, but I did like this one more than What the Dead Know.