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Crescent Blues Book ViewsAvon Books (Paperback), ISBN 0060506687

From the beginning something is not right. When Alice and Ronnie disrupt the birthday party of a classmate, their banishment from the party -- and from the swimming pool where the party takes place -- surprises no one. Ronnie's invitations to social events come only because of Alice and Alice's art teacher mother, Helen. Helen considers herself a bit of a rebel, and she thinks she understands Ronnie.

Book: laura lippman; every secret thing
Alice saves her allowance to buy jellies at Target and follows all the rules for fifth-grade girls at St. William of York School. Ronnie lives with brothers who torment her and barely succeeds in public school. Of course, everyone blames Ronnie for the incident at the pool party, even Helen.

Seven years and one horrendous crime later, a police officer tells the mother of the murdered baby that the two eleven-year-olds convicted of killing her child have been released back to their old Baltimore neighborhoods. Alice and Ronnie's return sets off a series of events that only a writer as skilled as Lippman could pull off.

Lippman's perfectly drawn characters don't disappoint. The mother of the murdered baby wonders if God seeks to punish her for being highly successful, for allowing the Baltimore city magazine to interview and photograph her to "confirm her excellent opinion of herself." Helen prides herself for truly choosing single motherhood when she could have taken another path all those summers ago, sitting around the kidney-shaped pool at the apartment complex. A young female detective's connection to the case, then and now, complicates the plot and makes perfect sense in the end.

In this disturbing thriller, the author of the Tess Monaghan series proves she can write a compelling stand-alone story. A Baltimore native and former newspaper journalist, Lippman knows her city, and the details and descriptions in this powerful novel make the book one you won't soon forget.

Augusta Scattergood

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