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Extended Audio Sample What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (8,103 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Lippman Narrator: Linda Emond Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who'or what'could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been, why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead-end'a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.

In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Linda Emond] captures the petulant and sly tones of young teenage girls trying to pull a fast one on their parents and also the desperate, combative voice of a woman who knows she is speaking the truth but must be careful how much information she reveals…Emond’s thoroughly professional narration will hook listeners into this compelling story.”


  • “Linda Emond’s voice is neutral in filling in the aftermath of the abduction. She saves emotion for her depiction of the suspicious detective who reopens the cold case. Emond's characterization of this feisty, sexually charged man is edged with rough and passionate tones.” 


  • “The story moves back and forth through time with suspenseful pacing as the listener gradually begins to understand the terrible consequences of this event. When the girls’ mother is finally located, the dramatic suspense is breathtaking and leads to a finale that is completely plausible and satisfying. Linda Emond gives a wonderful performance.” 

    Library Journal

  • “Lippman crafts a tale that resonates long after the last page is turned.

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A 2008 Anthony Award Finalist for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2009 Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel
  • Winner of the 2008 Barry Award for Best Novel
  • Audio Publisher’s Association “Audie” Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Julie H. | 2/1/2014

    " This book is not part of Lippman's excellent Tess Monaghan series, but because I like her writing, I pulled it off the shelf. It's a stand-alone story in which a woman is found wandering along the Baltimore beltway after having been involved in a car accident. When picked up by the police she "accidentally" (you're just not sure) identifies herself as the younger of two sisters abducted in the 1970s and not seen since. From there on out the race is on to try to identify the woman. Is she really who she says she is? What information might she provide that could solve the case? Where is her sister? Who abducted them, and how were two girls taken simultaneously from a crowded shopping mall on a Saturday? Should her mother, who has been living in torment after the loss of her daughters, the break-up of her marriage and subsequent death of her ex-husband, and the utter loss of hope, be brought in (from Mexico, where she now lives) and dragged through it all again when the would-be Heather Bethany might well be an imposter guilty of identity theft and attempted financial fraud? The chapters alternate back and forth between social workers, police, and others trying to sort the woman's identity in the present and the family dynamic and events leading up to and beyond the girls' abduction. All I can say is that the Creep Factor of the girls' dad is positively off the charts. If I were either of these girls (or their mother!), I'd have definitely gotten them away from him. The story was incredibly complex, with interesting twists and turns--so very much more than the simple is she? or isn't she? scenario. I must also say that it was emotionally exhausting to read. The ending was interesting, possibly realistic (I have my qualms), and extremely provocative and unsettling. While I wouldn't want to read books like this all the time--it reminded me of a better-written James Patterson--I'm not unhappy that I read it. (I am, however, incredibly homesick for the places described in the book and author's note given that I find myself 1,200 miles from there.) Lippman's a great writer, and I am happy to have joined her on this exploration of different sorts of writing, events, characters, and emotions. Now, let's get back to Tess as I couldn't go to sleep after finishing this unsettling book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jetswv | 1/31/2014

    " Fascinating read - very well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amanda | 1/28/2014

    " Decent murder mystery written more in a lit style. Kept me guessing until the end, which was plausible. I just thought the ultimate symmetry to the story was very unoriginal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sofia Galvez | 1/17/2014

    " I really liked this story. It had me hooked cause I just wanted to know what happen. This is the 2nd book I have read from the author and I find the format to be very similar. Reading the past and then the present trying to weave together the stories. I think that's how I got hooked. I just wanted to know what happen to the girls. "

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