Synopses & Reviews
Perennial New York Times
and nationally bestselling author and acclaimed multipleprize winner Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices to save her son and herself.
When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.
But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams — if you can afford her hourly fee.
For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can't be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?
Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.
And then she learns that her son's father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn't know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn't realize that he's serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he's clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.
With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life — again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She's done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren't hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.
"The consequences of long-buried secrets involving misogyny, motherhood, and morality play out in this excellent stand-alone set in suburban Maryland from Edgar-winner Lippman (The Most Dangerous Thing). Introduced in the novella 'Scratch a Woman,' Heloise Lewis is a survivor who rose from the ashes of her past to run a profitable call-girl service, occasionally meeting special clients herself. To her neighbors, she's a young widow and a devoted mother who never misses her son Scott's ball games at his middle school. To the IRS, she's a lobbyist with several women on her payroll and a medical plan. But Heloise's carefully constructed life is falling apart because Val Deluca, her son's father, who also was her former pimp, may be released from prison. Val doesn't know he's Scott's father or that Heloise's betrayal put him behind bars for murder. Shifting smoothly from Heloise's past to her present, Lippman delivers an intense character study about a strong, complex woman whose love for her son compels her to make some desperate choices. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Laura Lippman's stories aren't just mysteries; they are deeply moving explorations of the human heart. She is quite simply one of the best crime novelists writing today." Tess Gerritsen, author of The Mephisto Club
Already praised as "a writing powerhouse" (USA Today
) and "among the select group of novelists who have invigorated the crime fiction arena with smart, innovative, and exciting work" (George Pelecanos), New York Times
bestseller Laura Lippman is constantly sending reviewers back to their thesauruses in search of new and greater accolades. Her brilliant stand-alone novel, And When She Was Good
, only reinforces the fact that she stands tall among today's bestselling elite — including Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Jodi Picoult, and Harlan Coben (who raves, "I love her books!")
Based on her acclaimed, multi-award-nominated short story Scratch a Woman, And When She Was Good is the powerfully gripping, intensely emotional story of a suburban madam, a convicted murderer whose sentence is about to be overturned, and the child they will both do anything to keep. Lippman has already won virtually every prize the mystery genre has to offer — the Edgar®, Anthony, Agatha, and Nero Wolfe Awards, to name but a few. They'll now have to invent a few new awards just to keep up with her.
About the Author
Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her hometown in 1989 to work as a journalist. After writing seven books while still a full-time reporter, she left the Baltimore Sun to focus on fiction. She is the author of eleven Tess Monaghan books, including Baltimore Blues, Another Thing to Fall, and The Girl in the Green Raincoat; five stand-alone novels, including Every Secret Thing, To the Power of Three, What the Dead Know, and Life Sentences; and one short story collection, Hardly Knew Her. She is also the editor of another story collection, Baltimore Noir. Lippman has won numerous awards for her work, including the Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity.