The award-winning author of the Tess Monaghan mysteries has written an independent crime thriller and coming-of-age mystery. The 1999 Columbine High School massacre received great media attention; here, Lippman shows that girls possess the same capacity for violence. Critics agree that Lippman writes with great empathy and insight into the ups-and-downs of teenage friendship, high school peer pressures, and the ways in which violence affects the community. But the novel is too long, contains inaccurate forensic details, and creates characters who are detailed to the point of becoming dull. Despite these flaws, To the Power of Three
is a gripping, readable exposé of teenage girls psychology.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Lippman has won just about every mystery award out there: the Anthony, Edgar, Shamus, Agatha, and Nero. Her latest, a stand-alone mystery, is somewhat disappointing. The suspense is watered down considerably by the novel's unnecessary length of more than 400 pages. And the story, dependent for much of its punch on forensic evidence, is woefully inaccurate about evidence collection and preservation; for example, blood at the scene of the crime is stored in plastic bags, a serious error that would allow micro-organisms to destroy any DNA evidence. This is a long, long exploration of a school shooting that affects three girls found in a bathroom. One is dead, one critically injured, and one minimally wounded and uncooperative with police. The homicide sergeant investigating the case delves into the world of high-school rivalries to come up with a motive, and the book derails from mystery into pop sociology. For Lippman fans only. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved