2009: 122. To The Power Of Three

“People would want to know what she was thinking, the night before.”

To The Power Of Three, Laura Lippman

       I am a hit or miss Lippman fan. I rarely bother to seek her books out, but usually enjoy them when I do, particularly for the authentic Baltimore atmosphere (on an unrelated note, doesn’t Baltimore seem more authentic than D.C., somehow? Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather live here than there, but Baltimore seems like a place that people are from, and D.C. just seems like a place, sometimes.  Like, we don’t have any small neighborhood restaurants - only fancy food and fast food).   This book doesn’t have that, per se (it takes place in a Baltimore suburb but is still quite good, in a disturbing way.

     It’s the story of a school shooting.  One girl brings a gun into school and shoots her former best friend, then turns the gun on herself, while the third member of the trio escapes with a flesh wound.  The novel then goes from character to character (the surviving girl, the detectives, the parents, other school officials) as we try to piece together what happened.  The novel captures perfectly that underlying fear that this could happen anywhere - in your kids school, even, and also the heartbreak of the parents (both sets) as they try to live with what happened.  My only quibble is that I felt that the ending didn’t quite live up to the book that had gone before.  As we figured out why what happened happened, it lacked the power of the earlier pages.  It’s strange to say (especially for a mystery novel), but it might have been more powerful if the answer remained as unknowable as these things are in real life.  Still, this is a pretty good mystery - it had more emotional impact than these books usually do.

Date/Place Completed:  October 2009; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017