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Extended Audio Sample And When She Was Good Audiobook, by Laura Lippman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.0020207253886 out of 53.0020207253886 out of 53.0020207253886 out of 53.0020207253886 out of 53.0020207253886 out of 5 3.00 (3,474 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Lippman Narrator: Linda Emond Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780062190543
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Perennial New York Times bestselling and acclaimed multiple-prizewinning author Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices to save her son and herself.

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 job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she’s the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she’s the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know—and then she learns that her son’s father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn’t know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn’t realize that he’s serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he’s clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She’s done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren’t hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • And When She Was Good is a steady, surprising tale…Ms. Lippman’s nominal subject may be prostitution, but her book is not about a woman who takes care of clients. It’s about a woman who can take care of herself.”

    New York Times

  • “Gripping, intricate, and deeply felt, Laura Lippman is as good as ever in this thriller…Linda Emond gives a reading that is at once reserved (as Heloise feels she is in her life now) and evocative of the nuances of Heloise’s story. Heloise’s cool demeanor, under siege as crisis follows crisis, is conveyed by reader Linda Emond with skill and clarity; and the underlying emotions are expressed subtly and skillfully. And When She was Good is gripping to the end; the listener will not soon forget Heloise and her world.”


  • “Excellent…Shifting smoothly from Heloise’s past to her present, Lippman delivers an intense character study about a strong, complex woman whose love for her son compels her to make some desperate choices.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Lippman, so smart, clear-sighted, and polished and yet so intense and furious, surveys the intersection of perpetual misogyny and the criminality of sex work in this psychologically astute, diabolically witty, intricately suspenseful, and stylishly righteous tale of atrocities and revenge.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “[Lippman] slowly ratchets up the tension until the final, blood-drenched showdown…It’s a page-turner.” 

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2012
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Mysteries
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2013 Audie Award Finalist for Mystery

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Blumenthal | 2/10/2014

    " This has to be one of the least "exciting", and, at the same time, one of the absolutely best mystery/thrillers that I have ever read. I am a huge fan of Laura Lippman, finding her one of the literary of all mystery writers. This latest novel is, in my mind, her most literary and best written of all. As I was reading it, I felt that it could have been written by Lorrie Moore or Sue Miller. It involves a suburban Madam who runs a high-class prostitution service in the Baltimore/D.C. area. She's far from the most perfect protagonist, but the author infuses her with an aura that makes her quite likable. I, as a reader, was rooting for her throughout the entire novel. A large portion of this novel deals with her running this illegal and morally questionable service while raising a son. There is some tension and excitement near the end where an easily predicted twist leads to an over-the-top suspenseful scene. Most of the novel, though, is essentially a character study about a damaged woman trying to survive and do something good for her son. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 1/28/2014

    " The Helen/Heloise character is interesting, as is the description of the life of a financially successful suburban madam. The book didn't grab me the way some of Lippmann's others have done but still a good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mary Ann | 1/24/2014

    " All the reviews were so great. I couldn't wait to read this book. At page 60 something I gave up. Boring! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele Montague | 12/31/2013

    " I enjoyed this book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danelle | 11/3/2013

    " Very thought provoking book. How many of us are one or two steps away from the desperate life she lives as a teen and young woman? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 10/11/2013

    " Incredible surprise ending and good arguement for an old profession. Did it on audio and on ever decreasing pain meds which made book drag a bit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marybeth | 9/19/2013

    " Loved this book; would have given it 4.5 stars if possible. Fascinating look at life as a single mom/owner of a high-end escort service in Baltimore. A few plot holes but not enough to keep me up at night. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keisha Streeter-clark | 9/11/2013

    " First book I've ever read by this author, I love mystery and suspense and she provides it in this book. I did not want to put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Briana | 9/5/2013

    " Read this when I was home sick for a few days, and it was really a perfect book for that. Suspenseful and fun, "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie Guy | 7/10/2013

    " Another great story by Laura Lippmann! I really enjoyed this one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linnet | 3/12/2013

    " Heloise is a suburban madam, raising her son, visiting her husband in jail, and running her own business profitably. When a "colleague" of hers is found murdered in another suburb, Heloise has to confront her past, as well as her present. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwen Bentley | 2/12/2013

    " This was a very entertaining read--and a good reminder that none of us show our complete selves to the world around us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 (Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw | 10/28/2012

    " I found this a little flat, and although I was rooting for the protagonist to escape from her life of prostitution, I did reall ever warm up to her. But this was a quick read, somewhat of a chick thriller and I wasn't expecting great literature..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 9/14/2012

    " Once again, LL delivers a great story. Once again, I didn't see that ending coming and that is what I love about this writer. Smart writing, lots to think about, then BAM! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Linda Hall | 8/29/2012

    " Characters and plot were totally predictable and I pldded my way through it why, I do not know. I kept thinking it would get more interesting but it did not "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C.L. | 8/21/2012

    " This is a rather competent thriller with a fairly unique plot. Heloise is an unassuming soccer mom who also happens to lead a secret life as a suburban madam. Now she is in danger of having her secret life exposed and losing everything, including possibly her life. This was a very suspenseful story and Laura Lippman turned what could have been a ridiculous proposition into a well crafted story that kept me mesmerized throughout. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 K.N. | 8/20/2012

    " Great story but the main character was very hard to connect with in my opinion. That's a minor quibble however as there was plenty of suspense and intriguing twists to keep me from dwelling on that relatively minor shortcoming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla G. | 8/18/2012

    " I enjoyed this audiobook quite a lot. The writing, story and pacing was great. This is a great audiobook to listen to on your work commute. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Penny B. | 8/15/2012

    " I have enjoyed this author's previous works, but I did not particularly care for this novel. Don't get me wrong - it's well written and the plot is interesting - I just didn't care for the characters at all and the story was nothing like her earlier books. That's not a bad thing I suppose when the book is taken on its own merits but it's a bit jarring for fans of Laura Lippman's previous novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea H. | 8/14/2012

    " This novel, centered on a suburban mom with a double life as a madam, was interesting and compelling throughout. The writing was wonderful and there were lots of twists that I found thoroughly enjoyable as I navigated the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A.B. | 8/12/2012

    " I thought this was very suspenseful listen and also a unique idea for a novel. While the pacing was a bit slow in some parts the rest of the book made up for it. "

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About the Author
Author Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author, has won multiple awards and critical acclaim for provocative, timely crime novels set in her beloved hometown of Baltimore. She has some twenty award for crime fiction, including the Edgar. Award. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. Now a perennial New York Times bestselling author, she was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at the Baltimore Sun.

About the Narrator

Linda Emond is an award-winning actress of stage, film, television, and audiobook narration. Her performances on Broadway earned her nominations for the Tony Award in 2003 and 2012 and for the Drama Desk Award in 1997 and 2002. She was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for her roles in plays at theaters in Chicago. Her film credits include roles in Julie & Julia, Dark Water, and Across the Universe, among others. Her television credits include such series as Elementary, The Good Wife, and Law & Order: SVU, as well as movies such as A Dog Named Christmas. She has narrated dozens of audiobooks, winning four Earphones Awards and being named a finalist four times for the prestigious Audie Award. In 2011 she was named by AudioFile magazine as a Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense for her reading of Flash and Bones.