Gina's Reviews > The Most Dangerous Thing

The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
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Goodreads Book Description- One of the most acclaimed novelists in America today, Laura Lippman has greatly expanded the boundaries of mystery fiction and psychological suspense. Set once again in the well-wrought environs of Lippman’s beloved Baltimore, it is the shadowy tale of a group of onetime friends forced to confront a dark past they’ve each tried to bury following the death of one of their number. Rich in the compassion and insight into flawed human nature that has become a Lippman trademark while telling an absolutely gripping story, The Most Dangerous Thing will not be confined by genre restrictions, reaching out instead to captive a wide, diverse audience, from Harlan Coben and Kate Atkinson fans to readers of Jodi Picoult and Kathryn Stockett.

Brothers Tim, Sean and Gordon Halloran played ball in a field near Gwen Robison's house on the outskirts of Baltimore. When Gwen and her friend Mickey see them, Mickey tells them they can't play there unless they let the girls join in. Soon, the five of them are exploring the nearby woods, something that would not be allowed today.

Fast-forward to the present-day. Gordon, the youngest of the five, stumbles out of a bar. Certain that he's not drunk, he gets in the car and heads home. Then he makes a detour to a dead-end stretch of highway where they used to drag race, and drives into the barrier wall at the end.

The remaining four friends, who haven't been close since their early teens, meet for the first time in years at Gordon's funeral. Someone wonders why they stopped hanging around together, and that's when the memories of Chicken George, the strange man who lives in a run down cabin in the woods, begin to resurface. Although they all vowed, at the time, to never speak of the events of the night of the hurricane, Go-Go's death has brought more questions to the surface. What really happened that night in the woods and who is truly responsible?

Laura Lippman has created another fascinating tale of human nature and its foibles. The narrative alternates between the group's childhood in the late 1970s and the present-day (which requires that the reader pay attention to the chapter headings). As is common in Lippman's novels, the city of Baltimore is almost a character itself. Tess Monaghan even makes a brief appearance after the death of Go-Go.

Lippman uses an unusual technique when chronicling the group's youthful adventures. The narrative is written in first-person plural, referring to the five as "we", but never in the first-person singular. It does provide a feeling of immediacy to events, but unfortunately pulled this reviewer abruptly out of the story. Still, it's a gripping story, and difficult for the reader to put down once begun.

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