Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Alice's Review: The Most Dangerous Thing

The Most Dangerous ThingSummary:  Some secrets can’t be kept…

Years ago, they were all the best of friends. But as time passed and circumstances changed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past—and the terrible lie they all shared. But now Gordon, the youngest and wildest of the five, has died and the others are thrown together for the first time in years.

And then the revelations start.

Could their long-ago lie be the reason for their troubles today? Is it more dangerous to admit to what they’ve done or is it the strain of keeping the secret that is beginning to wear on them and everyone close to them? Each one of these old friends has to wonder if their secret has been discovered—and if someone within the circle is out to destroy them. ~amazon.com

Review:  I am relatively new to the mystery genre. I have read them in the past, but mostly because the mystery was a by product of a romance I was wrapped up in. Very few times have I picked up a novel because I wanted to play detective and figure out the whodunit. The Most Dangerous Thing wasn’t so much a whodunit as a shocking conclusion to a disturbing occurrence. I was completely involved in this story. I wanted to know what happened that caused the unlikely friendship between five souls to fall so beautifully and tragically apart.

As a mystery, I was held in suspense throughout the most of the novel. Ms. Lippman gave snippets of information, clues revealed through the past and present by several characters, but ultimately she left the big “Holy Chicken!” moment for the end. I have to admit I was thinking of rating this novel lower, mainly because of the disturbing nature at the core of the mystery. Then I realized how brilliant Ms. Lippman truly is. I didn’t suspect that finish at all. I appreciated that she made her villain flawed, truly unsuspecting much like the other characters on the novel.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, I was underwhelmed by a couple of the characters, particularly Tally Robison. I think Tally would have made a fascinating character in her own novel but much of her story and motivation gets lost in this one. I really didn’t see the point in revealing so many details of her past; it added nothing to the story.

A character I really enjoyed getting to know was Doris Halloran. She had a touch of creepy about her. She’s sensitive, slightly delusional, a bit vindictive. Overall, I think she was plain ol’ misunderstood.

There were a couple of big surprised in the novel that has nothing to do with the mystery but with Ms. Lippman’s literary prowess. There is a bit in the book when Doris tells of reading and loneliness. She is only twenty pages from the end of a novel she’s reading, but puts it down because she hates going to bed with a book finished. Mainly because…
“It’s a little less lonely, knowing she has a group of people waiting for her in the morning, people who can’t go on unless she opens the book.”

Ms. Lippman also writes about forgiveness.
“Allowing one’s self to be forgiven is just as hard as forgiving. Harder in some ways. Because to be forgiven, one first has to admit to being at fault.”

That my friends, is some good chicken. And the main reason why I read.

This novel has made me a Laura Lippman fan. I have I’d Know You Anywhere in my TRB pile and frankly, I can’t wait to dig into that one.

Final Take:  4/5

The Most Dangerous Thing is available for purchase on August 23, 2011.

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