The Accomplice – Lisa Lutz

“The Accomplice” focuses on a deep and abiding friendship between Owen and Luna, who meet in college. It is the story of more than one death that they have singly and together experienced. And booze everywhere, in family homes, on their college campus, at the edge of a cliff. The story takes place in two timeframes, the early 2000s, when the bloom comes off Owen while they are still college students and fifteen years later when tragedy strikes again. It is a story of trust, suspicion, real betrayal, the pasts that haunt us, figuring out how to be one’s authentic self and several mysteries: These mysteries include the not so likable elderly artist who could have been self-supporting but isn’t; one dead mother; one dead father; one old death that led to guilt; one very new death that leads to confusion; a very unlikeable guy in prison; a couple of affairs; too much gossip; a neighbor who reminds one of Gladys Kravitz; and a brother and his dog. The cops are delightfully appealing characters as to every one of the deaths. Lutz is an adept sketch artist of character and one’s imagination more than takes care of the stories she doesn’t explicitly tell.I’d love to think I was one of the first to discover Lisa Lutz because when I found her Spellman series, I felt I alone knew about these books. I was so entertained and amused I never wanted them to end. “Heads You Lose” equally appealed to me. (It was not a mystery.) But, I took awhile to fully appreciate her later work. Oh, I liked the post-Spellman books. But I did not love them. I had type cast the author. Still, I bought each new book in hardcover the minute they came out, so my deep respect for the author stayed intact. My NetGalley ARC of “The Accomplice” started with a letter from a vice-president of Ballatine Books. She noted that “The Accomplice” refers back to a prior stand alone book of Lutz’s, “The Passenger.” Hmmm. “What was that one about?” I went to Goodreads and Amazon and Lutz’s webpage. It was published in 2016. I devour books and it is hard to remember them all, but I recreated which Lutz this was and read good and bad reviews. Doing this changed how I read “The Accomplice”. I say this for you who are disappointed that she did not continue the Spellman series or found her later books sparsely written, too shallow, lacking in clues, and rushed at the end. Go back and reread those books! I’m heading back to reread her work from the Spellmans onward. Because Lutz is an original writer and it is all there. And the writing is really sophisticated. It can be easy to write too much. Lutz’s style is to write just enough. The rhythm is perfect. The humor less out there but woven throughout. Many reviewers note how quotable her books are. I just paid attention differently and it it true. She captures humanity in one line after another. Genius!

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