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And When She Was Good

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  9,769 Ratings  ·  1,226 Reviews
When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by William Morrow (first published August 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 31, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
Honestly, I never know how to rate a book when I don't like the main character. If the story is interesting (it was...) and it keeps my interest (it did....), I should probably give it 4 or 5 stars. But I find Heloise to be just unlikable. She comes across as aloof, unsympathetic and self-pitying. She seems to think she's smarter than everyone else.

While Helen/Heloise is in high school, her verbally abusive jerk of a father insists she go get a job. This job leads her down a twisted and ugly pa
William Thomas
Aug 24, 2012 William Thomas rated it did not like it
The libraries around here are running low on audiobooks that appeal to me, so I picked one up by Laura Lippman. I didn't really know anything about her going into this, except that her books seem to be mystery/thriller based and I thought I'd go for it. I might never go for it again. I'm embarrassed I read this, and I'm embarrassed that she wrote it. I didn't even want to add it here, but I figured I would rate it on here because I did not shut it off and listened to the whole damn thing start t ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
A quick read, but not one I loved. I've read a handful of Lippman books because I enjoy the way she works Baltimore into her books as a character of its own. This one tipped a line into something I didn't like. The character was somewhat sympathetic, but there were asides that seemed more like authorial interjections than things the character would notice. She ended up reminding me of a group of women at my gym who talk loudly about vacations and their teenagers' cars and their husbands' careers ...more
Oct 06, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Along with Elizabeth George and Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman is mystery writer whose usual who-done-its transcend the genre. So it's interesting that for her latest novel, Lippman steps outside the familiar ground of a straight-forward mystery novel and gives us a character study of a suburban madam.

Alternating between the past and the present, Lippman lays out the circumstances that led to Helen changing her name to Heloise and trying to escape her past. Fathered by a man cheating on his wi
This should fill the sweet spot that's craving another Gone Girl. It is both clever and marvelously prosaic, so that the reader fully enters into the story of Heloise, a hard-working suburban single mom who runs an escort service to provide her with the time and money to raise her child.

I had the weirdest feeling throughout the first two-thirds or so that I had already read this, even though I couldn't recall any of the plot. Turns out I've read some other stories about Heloise. And now I can't
Aug 19, 2012 Kerry rated it liked it
Laura Lippman is one of my favorite authors; I can always count on her to deliver a solid thriller with a special combination of ordinary setting (Baltimore and its surroundings), superficially ordinary characters with extraordinary pasts, challenging and interesting perspectives, great pacing, and terrific writing. I enjoyed this book for all of those ingredients, but not as much as I normally do.

I found Helen/Heloise a difficult character to warm up to - not because I didn't like her or under
Mickey Reed
Sep 24, 2012 Mickey Reed rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adult fiction fans
Shelves: blog-tour, 2012
See full review here!

Laura Lippman's Tess series is one I've read in the past. I've never tried her stand-alone work, and I'm always game for a good stand-alone. Especially an adult one. I read a lot of YA fiction, but this is a GREAT adult novel to pick up! I might say that this would make a great book club novel. It has great themes and discussion elements. It's addicting and curious. It wasn't predictable in the way that I knew how it would all play out, though I did guess at a couple things
Mitch Duckworth
Mar 31, 2013 Mitch Duckworth rated it really liked it
Maybe I’m guilty. Okay. LL could write spit and I’d call it transcendent.

That said, I have to admit, re AWSWG,there are one or two little nagging elements about several characters that bothered me, badass pimp Val and his previously undisclosed Filipino common-law wife living upstate with whom he has three children. She is—we are asked to believe without question—an incredibly unsophisticated foreign-born woman who believes for over ten years, that her very bad husband is trapped overseas becau
Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
Although it felt that nothing happened for long stretches of this novel, when things did happen they were executed perfectly. You may think this would lead to a boring read, but And When She Was Good is far from boring.

The main character, Helen/Heloise (Hel?) seems so sure of herself for the majority of this book, and i'd be lying if I didn't admit that the ending was the best part - but that's because Hel stopped being so superior and aloof and putting everyone down. It took her being out-smart
I've read two other books by Laura Lippman and really enjoyed them. I was really looking forward to her latest stand-alone novel, but ended up disappointed. It's supposed to be a suspense/mystery/thriller, but it offered little of any of those things. It starts off well enough. A madam in a suburban neighborhood is murdered. Heloise Lewis debates a woman in a store who thinks the madam was asking to be murdered. We find out fairly quickly that the reason Heloise jumps to the dead woman's defense ...more
Sep 19, 2016 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I found this a very interesting storyline. What happens to someone when they think they don't deserve much and end up down the road of drugs and prostitution. How do they turn their life around when that is all they know? I always enjoy a Laura Lippman story. She does a great job of entertaining the reader and keeping them interested in the characters and what is happening. Well worth my time.
Jul 21, 2012 g rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2012-read
I don't usually read crime novels, not because I have some feeling of superiority over this genre, but more that my "scare" bar is very, very low.

This book is about a suburban madam whose seedy past threatens to destroy the near-perfect life she's created. The book moves at an even clip, alternating between Heloise Lewis' past and present lives and the dangers therein.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The mood, pacing, etc were perfect. I'd say this is the perfect beach read but I haven't been to
Rebecca Martin
Nov 26, 2012 Rebecca Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really want to give this one a 4.5 because it was so very entertaining. Yes, there is more than one murder and more than one mystery here, but it's the protagonist at its heart, Heloise, who kept my interest. I see that other reviewers say they didn't like the book because they didn't like her. What I found very involving about the book is the way my feelings changed about her over time. They were positive at first (young woman makes the best of a really bad situation)--Heloise (or Helen) is s ...more
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it really liked it
3.5 stars - It was really good.

This was an interesting and unique mystery/thriller which was not overly gory or violent and did not move along at a frantic pace - all bonuses for me, though these things may be negatives for certain readers. I really enjoyed the author's writing style which was suffused with sarcasm and snark - more bonuses. This was the first novel I have read by Laura Lippman, but I will definitely be checking out more of her novels.

Attila Cthulhuson
Jan 14, 2013 Attila Cthulhuson rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I've read a mystery meant for adults, as evidenced by my surprise that the novel spent so much time character and world building as opposed to having someone clue-hunting. In fact, I tended to forget it was a mystery.

I enjoyed seeing Heloise's world -- specifically hearing how she built her business -- as well as her history and how generally awesome she was for getting where she was (successful in business, able to support her child, able to have good friends without nee
Barbara Bryant
Nov 17, 2012 Barbara Bryant rated it it was ok
I have to say I thought this book was a lot of nothing. I try to read Lippman once in a while because my friend likes her, but I noticed that she didn't like this either. That the story of this woman is a little preposterous (after a sad younger life with no prospects and nothing but trouble, her man helps her to start a "lobbying" business in Maryland--a front for a prostitution ring of the higher orders), is only part of the problem.

The story could have been made into a pretty good read but th
Kelly Hager
Aug 21, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
The best part of the reading slump that I've been in lately is that it forced me to savor this book. Generally, when I'm reading a good book (especially when it's by an author I love, as in this case), I pretty much devour it. I'm usually okay with that, but it turns out that taking a long time (for me) to read is nice, too.

Laura Lippman's books are also always good. It's sort of weird, actually---given how busy she is, I'm starting to wonder if she actually HAS cloned herself. And I feel like e
Apr 26, 2016 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is the three-stariest book I have ever read. My engagement in reading it was so perfectly mediocre. I don't mean it's badly written (neither the plot nor the grammar), and I don't mean I was bored. I wasn't. I kind of idly felt mild interest in finding out what happens next most of the time I was reading it, and I didn't really like any of the characters and I didn't really hate any of them, and it was interesting to read about the prostitution version of Weeds or Breaking Bad, and the myst ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, mystery
Wavering between 3-3.5 stars...

Not my favorite storyline, but the writing is good. Story is told through alternating years in the life of Helen AKA Heloise, a suburban madame. I like how it was revealed a bit here and a bit there. Nice character study, but mostly unlikable characters. I think Lippman is an innovative writer and will try more of her books.
Sep 24, 2013 Zoeytron rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I just couldn't seem to drum up any real feelings for the characters in this book. I neither liked them nor disliked them, and that made the story less enjoyable to read. The story was alright, the writing was fine, it simply did not do anything for me except keep me reading to the end. That is something, I suppose, in a lukewarm sort of a way.

This was a first-reads giveaway, thank you.
Sep 05, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
Crime fiction is not a genre I frequently read, but I am a fan of the TV shows Weeds and Breaking Bad, so Laura Lippman's novel And When She Was Good, about a suburban single mom who runs a prostitution business, intrigued me. (I also live a block away from the place where a woman in NYC was accused of running a high-priced call girl ring.)

We meet teenage Helen, verbally abused by her unemployed father, a man separated from his wife and children, and living with Helen and her mother. He becomes
Aug 24, 2012 LORI CASWELL rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012
In the burbs she is a single soccer mom with a forgettable job. In Washington she is a redheaded lobbyist with a pretty mediocre record. But in fact if you can afford her hourly fee she will be the woman of your dreams.

She has gone from what he father called a girl with a "nothing face" to a woman with a very secret life. She has no real friends, keeps her life highly compartmentalized, trusts very few, all while trying to shelter her son from what really pays for their upper class lifestyle.

Sep 02, 2012 Ariel rated it it was amazing
Heloise used to be a common prostitute for Val, but when she is faced with having Val's child she makes decisions that will impact her for the next decade. She does this all for her child, determined to give a better childhood than she experienced. She thinks that she has left the brutality of the street behind for her own carefully constructed and discreet high-paid escort service. She runs the show and lives well now. When another suburban madam is murdered, she doesn't think much about it - u ...more
Lisa Nocita
Dec 03, 2012 Lisa Nocita rated it it was ok
Laura Lippman's latest title And When She Was Good<\i> is a bit of a misnomer as Heloise, a.k.a. Helen Lewis, the protagonist is rarely good. Her choices are almost all self-destructive. Small town girl, smart, averagely pretty, from a dysfunctional family loses her virginity and all self-worth to the first guy that looks her way and pursues her. Desperate to escape a disproving father who quashes every hope or dream she dares to have while he uses his fists to make his points, Helen drops ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Crystal rated it it was amazing
I love Laura Lippman books and And When She Was Good did not disappoint. Ms. Lippman has her own way of building suspense, it's simple, it's deceptive. She creates the story, sucks you right into it and then throws the surprises at you but not in a thriller type way. No her way is more sedate, but definitely wonderful. I love her books and look forward to her new releases each year so I jumped at the chance to read this one.

I will confess that since it was Laura Lippman, I didn't read the synops
Aug 05, 2012 Jimmmunchel rated it it was amazing
The greatest compliment a reader can give a author is when the ability to create a fictional, main character through their words becomes 4th dimensional. As the pages are turning the protagonist intensifies not only through everyday feelings and situations but the reader can swear they felt their heartbeat as well…that is a true talent and a gift to anyone picking up a Laura Lippman novel.
August 14th is the release date for Laura Lippman’s latest stand alone novel AND WHEN SHE WAS GOOD.
May 07, 2013 Christa rated it really liked it
I was really intrigued by the synopsis of this book, but was a little put off by the mediocre reviews. I'm glad I trusted my gut, because this one was a good read.

This book is pretty much a fictional account of the Upper East Side Madam--just sub in Baltimore suburbs for New York City. It alternates between present day, where Heloise is struggling to keep her lucrative business producing while hiding it from her 12-year-old son, and the past, where we learn how she changed from an earnest, strai
Apr 10, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing
I loved this unusual little book! I just pulled off the shelf at my local library; I thought that perhaps I had read something else by this author, Laura Lippman, but it turns out I did not.

The story begins with a young girl who is verbally and occasionally abused by her dad, and whose mom chooses the dad over the mom. Helen gets a job in a local restaurant, meets a man, moves in with him, finds out he is an addict, and is rescued by another man. Eventually she creates a high-end, carefully desi
Dec 10, 2012 Christine rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Heloise is a single mom living in a nice suburban neighbourhood. Smart and good looking her neighbours have no problem believing that she is a lobbyist. How else could she afford the lifestyle she is living? The truth is Heloise had a rough start to her life and was introduced very early on to the world of drugs and prostitution. Instead of letting it drag her under, she made use of her talents and now is a madam in her own highly successful escort service. Her former boyfriend/pimp is behind ba ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Suzyn rated it really liked it
I read someplace recently that Chuck Palahniuk completely owns the "unreliable narrator" trope. This book reminded me that there are lots of ways to do an "unreliable narrator" and Palahniuk, never a subtle guy, did an especially dramatic one, but hardly the have-all end-all.

One expects honesty from a literary hooker and dishonesty from a literary suburbanite and Lippman's character Heloise Lewis is both. The dualism of the suburban hooker is a major theme here, and resolving her identity is th
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Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar , the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other ...more
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“Heloise long ago reconciled herself to the idea that all is fair in love and war, which is just another way of saying that nothing in life is ever fair, because life is love and war.” 1 likes
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