Excerpt from Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Every Secret Thing

by Laura Lippman

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman X
Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2004, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


As if Sharon Kerpelman were even on speaking terms with courtesy.

"I guess," Cynthia said, "that if you don't know what it is, I don't either."

"Yes. Well. How have you been?" Sharon asked, as if reading from a script. Maybe she had finally gotten a copy of Dale Carnegie, which she sorely needed. But Sharon, being Sharon, would go straight past the part about winning friends and skip ahead to trying to influence people.
"Why, just fine," Cynthia drawled. Not that Sharon would ever notice anything as subtle as a tone. "But I'm driving and I don't like to talk on the Beltway unless it's urgent. So-"

"This is-well, not urgent, but important."

"Yes?" Spit it out, Sharon.

"Alice Manning is coming home Thursday."

"For a visit?"

"For . . . ever. She's being released."

"How can that be?"

"She's eighteen now. After all, it will be seven years in July-"

"I think I remember," Cynthia said, "when it happened."

The headset was suddenly tight on her temples, squeezing so hard she felt as if those soon-to-be-rigid muscles behind her eyes might fly out of her head. How unfair. How unfair. The juvenile lament was her instinctive retort whenever this subject came up. Her father, who usually snapped at such idiocy, who had devoted his professional and personal life to establishing Solomon-like standards of fairness, had agreed with her. "Yes, it is," he said on that not-long-enough-ago day when the deal had been struck. "We have bent the law as far as we can, but we can't go further without breaking it. They are children in the eyes of the law."

"And in the eyes of God?" she had asked her father.

"I suppose they are children still. For God has to shoulder responsibility for all of us, even the monsters among us."

Today, her rage found its outlet in childlike cruelty. "Was Alice the fat one or the crazy one?" She could never forget their names, or their faces, yet she always had trouble matching them up. It was a kind of selective dyslexia, like her tendency to confuse surnames such as Thomas and Thompson, Murray and Murphy. Cynthia thought of the two as grotesque Siamese twins, connected at the waist, tripping over their four legs as they came down her street, up her porch, into her life.

Sharon's voice was prim, intended to be a reproof, as if Cynthia could ever be shamed on this topic. "Alice was the one with blond hair, worn straight back with a band. Here's a tip: think Alice in Wonderland."

"What?"

"As a mnemonic device, I mean. Or Ronnie-Aran, if you prefer, as in Isle of Aran, for she had dark hair and light eyes. The look they sometimes call Black Irish." An embarrassed laugh. "I mean, I don't call it Black Irish, but you hear that sometimes, among people of a certain generation-I mean-"

"I know what you mean." Sharon had said so much worse to Cynthia, so blithely and unknowingly, that it was hilarious she would fret over this minor gaffe. The last time they had spoken, in a chance meeting outside a shopping mall, Cynthia had yearned to box her ears. But Judge Poole's daughters didn't fight with their fists.

"Anyway, I just wanted you to know. So if you saw her. Alice, I mean."

Everything made sense now. Her eyesight was getting better because she needed to see. Come to think of it, her hearing was sharper, too, so intense that the softest sound jarred her from her dreamless sleep. She didn't exercise, it seemed idiotic now, going around and around on a treadmill or a stair-stepper, yet she had never been stronger, leaner, had more stamina. Maybe she should write a book, The Black Coffee and Cigarette Diet: How to Mourn Your Way to a Better Body. Good line, she would save that one up, throw it out to her sister, Sylvia, the next time they talked. Sylvia was the one person in Cynthia's life who didn't flinch at her sarcasm.

From Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman. Copyright Laura Lippman 2003. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.