The more I read of Laura Lippman’s canon, the more I am able to fully recognize her gift of creating such a variety of fully realized characters. The best example of this is her short story collection that came out last year Hardly Knew Her or the fact that she’s one of the very few people to actually give an accurate portrayal of high school as seen in To the Power of Three. In her latest stand-alone novel, Life Sentences, Lippman brings us into the mind of a memoirist who has to return home.
Now thanks to my work with The Mystery Company, Mystery Muses, Magna cum Murder, and the upcoming BoucherCon 2009 (Everyone register!), I have spent a lot of time around authors. In this book there were a lot of little stuff that I enjoyed because it was very accurate about signings and how people react to authors. A simple example is how the character signed the stock for the store. It’s just a throwaway paragraph but it was something I enjoyed.
The sad problem was I enjoyed hearing her talk about the author aspects more than the main plot of the story. In the story, Cassandra Fallows is returning home after having written two popular memoirs and one failed novel. She is working on another memoir where she looks into a former classmate and the crime she was associated with. The book in untraditional in many ways as it deals with the plot, but it still left me underwhelmed in compared to Lippman’s other work. Still Sentences is worth checking out because of Lippman’s gift as a writer.