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And When She Was Good
Laura Lippman

William Morrow
August 14, 2012 / ISBN 978-0-06-170687-5

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

There's no question that author Laura Lippman knows how to tell a compelling story. Her books are New York Times Bestsellers, and almost anyone who likes to read knows her work. I am always eagerly awaiting Lippman's next book, although sometimes a nagging doubt creeps up on me and I wonder if the next book could possibly be as good as the last.

and when she was good did not disappoint me. It is a riveting story about everyday people who lead anything but everyday lives as they do what they must to survive. The protagonist, Helen aka Heloise Lewis, grew up with a violent and abusive father, and a mother who failed to protect her. Although Hector, her father, wasn't sexually abusive, the physical beatings and the verbal abuse marked her psyche for life. As a teenager, Helen fell in love with a man in his 20's. She didn't realize that he was a drug addict until it was too late, and she was forced into a life as a dancer at a strip club. Her escape came at the hands of a powerful man she met there-the man who saved her from the druggie, but turned her into a high-priced prostitute.

The story evolves slowly and the reader is taken back to the life Helen led as a girl, and later as a stripper, and forward to her life as a suburban Madam who is trying to provide a safe life for her son. She's a single mother as his father, Val, the cold-blooded killer who made her into a hooker, rots in jail. Yet the idea that he may get released on a technicality, along with the murder of another woman from his stable, strikes fear into the heart of Heloise, the name she has chosen for herself. This book is about love and loathing, fear and bravery, and betrayal and trust. There is suspense throughout each chapter, at times just a whiff of it, at other times I found myself on pins and needles waiting to see what happened next.

If you are a fan of Lippman you absolutely must read this book. If you are new to Lippman's work, prepare yourself- you are in for a wild ride on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012