As always with Lippman's novels, I found myself both eager to begin the journey and anxious that the ride would be over far too soon. The best thing you can say about a book is that it never feels too short nor does it overstay its welcome. And that's a praise I can heap on a lot of Lippman's novels.
Cassandra Fellows is a successful n...more
I haven't read a lot by this author, but it seems her mysteries are primarily about how secrets don't stay kept forever, and her writing is more literary than suspenseful (especially since the answers aren't findable by the reader via clues in the story). In this...more
But the characters are difficult to relate to, some are too stereotypical, some are too depressing... the story...more
Life Sentences has moments of one of the things I really loved about What the Dead Know--Lippman's knack for calling up all sorts of random details about childhood and adolescence and evoking the odd ways our brains sometimes worked when we were kids...more
The many savoury bits are offset by stretches of monotony. The narrator, Cassandra Fallows, has published two successful tell-all memoirs and then disappointed with first attempt at fict...more
this deserves a longer, more thoughtful review that is forthcoming, but i just needed to take note that i read it and finished before i forgot to log it.
Author Cassandra Fallows has achieved remarkable success by baring her life on the page. Her two widely popular memoirs continue to sell briskly, acclaimed for their brutal, unexpurgated candor about friends, family, lovers—and herself. But no...more
I picked up Life Sentences, because I was in the mood for a literary thriller. This book involves a memoir writer, Cassandra, who decides that she is going to tell the story of her childhood friends, one of whom went to jail for killing her infant son (though she never admitted the crime, and no body was ever found). The question seemed to be, "What really happened to the baby?" But, ultimately, the "mystery" at the center of Life Sentences was not the author's point, because there was certainly...more
Here's the bare bones: Cassandra Fallowes is an author. She's written two wildly successful memoirs and one novel that was received less than warmly by the public. She heads back to Baltimore to start memoir #3, which will be about the girls she was friends with growing up and another of their classmates (who was kind of on the fringe of their group) who is at the center of a mystery. The woma...more
Laura Lippman is one of the most recognized and acknowledged authors of crime fiction in the US. She's won every imaginable award, including a clean sweep of the major categories at Bouchercon 2008. Both her Tess Monaghan series and her standalone works have been lauded. So it's probably understandable, although unexpected, when she writes something that is not of the highest caliber.
Life Sentences is a book tha...more
She considers writing a biography of her elementary school colleague notorious African-American Calliope Jenkins who two decades ago was accused of murdering her infant son. Jenkins has not answered on...more
In New Orleans a child has disappeared and his mother refuses to tell anyone what happened to him. The news story compares this case to a case in Baltimore where Calliope Je...more
When Cassandra was a girl, growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighbo...more
However, the story does have a mystery as it's spine, and the rest of the story is the flesh on that skeleton. It was the rest of the story that kept me fully engaged as the central character, Cassandra, went in search of her childhood friends to solve the mystery of whether Callie killed her baby and why she wouldn't talk about what happened.
Cassandra is a writer, with two s...more
I really liked that plot and the main character.
The mystery was interesting and (mostly) well plotted and revealed. The question is whether Cassandra's childhood friend Calliope really killed her child, and if so, why?
I've read several books recently featuring writers as characters, and I've been enjoying them. Cassandra is no exception. I enjoyed her reflections on her past, present and future and h...more
As in much of her fiction, Life Sentences was inspired by a real-life story -- that of a Baltimore woman who spent seven years in jail for contempt of court for refusing to divulge information about her young son's disappearance. Most critics agreed that Life Sentences, which almost measures up to the career-defining What the Dead Know, is a compelling exploration of ego, friendships, family relationships, memories, racism, self-deception, and betrayals. Reviewers praised Lippman's evocation of...more
What happens to a writer, having written two memoirs, who comes home to Baltimore and thinks she has found another story to write. It involves the quartet of girls she grew up with. In the process, they help her to see the "story" she wrote about wasn't necessarily the truth, although she may have believed it at the time she wrote it. Plus, she is facing her aging parents. Having just come from a visit with my aging m...more