Message From The Author

Laura Lippman

Book Title: TO THE POWER OF THREE
Genre: Thriller, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

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Author's Message

GIRLHOOD GONE WILD

IN LAURA LIPPMAN'S LATEST, FRIENDSHIP ENDS IN A SCHOOL SHOOTING

Girlhood is far from idyllic in Laura Lippman's fictional world. Two years ago, the award-winning crime novelist broke away from her Tess Monaghan, P.I. series with Every Secret Thing, in which two 18-year-old girls, convicted of killing a baby when they were 11, must confront their past when more children go missing.

In Lippman's new stand-alone, To the Power of Three (William Morrow), young female friendship once again takes center stage when the lives of three former best friends are destroyed on the eve of graduation by a shooting in their high school bathroom. One girl is killed, another left on life support and the third survives to narrate the saga, which isn't likely to win feel-good-story-of-the-year honors. But it's a compelling psychological study about the pain and intensity of female friendship.

"I've been interested in trying to come up with crime stories that put female characters at the center," says the former Baltimore Sun reporter, who was in New York recently for the mystery industry's Edgar Awards. "And I don't want them to be stories about thwarted romances or what women do to get men, so one of the places you can go is female friendship. The first person who breaks a girl's heart is usually another girl."

The novel, Lippman's tenth, also explores how frighteningly random the world can be, and how tragedy can strike any family. "As much as I've enjoyed reading about sociopaths and larger-than-life villains," Lippman says, "I'm really interested in stories of well-intentioned people and how small things can accrue that can add up to unthinkable tragedies that can happen to anyone."

And ones that everyone seems to think they have the answer to, from the school guidance counselor to the dead girl's ex-boyfriend. "There are a lot of people wandering around who think they can figure stuff out, and all these well-meaning amateurs actually screw up the works a bit. I didn't set out to write that, but I saw it emerging."

Which leaves Lippman with only one concern: "I just hope people won't think I'm attacking the amateur sleuth novel," she quips. —Diane Snyder


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