Review: Hush Hush, Laura Lippman

22206617I never would have picked a book about a mother who kills her infant daughter by leaving her in a hot car. I never would want to read a book about something so unfathomable to most people. The good news is that this book isn’t just about the crime.

Hush Hush is about a Baltimore socialite who killed her daughter ten years ago and found not guilty by insanity. Now, Melissandre, who spent her time in the psychiatric hospital, then London, is back home. She wants to make a documentary about her crimes, to show everyone who branded her as a “baby killer” that she truly was insane, and all she wants to do is get back to her life. While trying to reconnect with old friends, and her daughters, Melissadre hits multiple roadblocks. Events start to unfold, and soon, even the most unlikely suspects are taking the blame.

I read this book as part of the neighborhood book club. Most of the women in the group are mothers, and many of them had a hard time getting past Melissandre’s crime. I, on the other hand, focused more on Melissandre’s other characteristics. She is a brilliant villain, written well. I never liked her as a person, but I loved her as a character.

I had a hard time figuring out the purpose of the other characters until about a third of the way through the book. The beginning starts fairly slow, going through the daily lives of the characters. It seems like they’re making the documentary and interviewing people for ages before anything exiting actually happens. So, it starts a little slow, but when things finally start to roll, they don’t stop. Just when you think everything makes sense, and just when you think you know who is responsible for certain events, the characters find out something new that throws you off track. There were some parts that seemed a little predictable, but a lot of it left me wondering why and who really did it.

I have not read any of the other Tess Monaghan novels, but this one works as a standalone novel. I didn’t think I was missing out on any kind of information about the characters as I read, although I wish some of them were more developed. That probably happens in the other books.

If you’re a fan of mystery, you’d like this novel. It touches on some sensitive subjects, like mothers murdering their children and mental instability being used as a excuse for bad behavior. This is a dark book, not one you would usually follow-up a young-adult novel with. If you can get past the dark elements of the book, then you might like it. Hush Hush might make you want to read the other Tess Monaghan novels.

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