All that is mine I carry with me

William Landay

Book - 2023

"Three grown siblings confront their father's role in their mother's disappearance in this arresting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob. Jane Larkin disappeared without a trace in November 1976. When ten-year-old Miranda arrives home from school that autumn afternoon, finding her mother's pocketbook in its usual spot in the front hall, she assumes her mother will be back any minute. But as the hours tick by, alone in the house, Miranda becomes filled with a steady certainty that her mother will never come home again. In the absence of other leads, detectives quickly turn their suspicions toward Jane's husband, Daniel. A criminal defense attorney, Dan would know a thing or two about h...ow to stay one step ahead of investigators. Indeed, no evidence is ever found. But nor is any real possible motive. And so Miranda and her two older brothers, Jeff and Alex, are left in limbo, to be raised by the man who may or may not have murdered their mother. Over the years, as the case grows colder, each makes their own uneasy peace with the situation. Until one day, when they are all grown-and a body is found. Suddenly, the investigation is reinvigorated, and everyone has to choose a side in a confrontation they have long avoided. Once lines are drawn, there is no going back. Untangling a web of family secrets, compelling motives, and long-held grudges, William Landay masterfully grapples with a tantalizing case, calling into question the most basic of morals: How deep should family loyalty run? What do we owe to the dead? And what happens when the search for the truth could cost everything?"--

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

FICTION/Landay William
0 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Landay William Due Dec 17, 2023
Thrillers (Fiction)
Detective and mystery fiction
New York : Bantam [2023]
Main Author
William Landay (author)
First edition
Physical Description
320 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

An author weighed down with writer's block seeks something real to write about and finds it in a longtime friend's harrowing account of his mother's sudden disappearance decades earlier. The title refers to a quote ("Omnia mea mecum porto") ascribed to a Greek sage meaning that knowledge is the one true valuable. The saying appears on the friend's sister's arm in the form of a tattoo. Landay focuses on the shadow the mother's disappearance has cast over the siblings' lives since childhood, and on the murky suspicion that hangs over their father. The writing itself seems almost deliberately murky here, switching gears often, at one point even including a "Gone Girl" letter from the mother to her children. The discovery of the woman's body, two decades after her disappearance, brings tensions to a boiling point. This is a toboggan ride of a novel, sometimes veering wildly, but its overall effect is exhilarating. Landay's Defending Jacob (2013) won the Strand Critics Award for best novel.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Author Philip Solomon, the narrator of this uneven mystery from bestseller Landay (Defending Jacob), decides to write a novel about a cold case: in 1975, 10-year-old Miranda Larkin, a brother of whom was a childhood friend of Philip, returned to her Newton, Mass., home after school to find her mother, Jane, absent. The police launched a missing persons investigation, which morphed into a homicide inquiry focused on Jane's defense attorney husband. No charges were brought. Decades later, Philip's choice reawakens many old wounds for Miranda and ends up causing rifts within the Larkin family. Landay movingly explores the impact of Jane's disappearance on Miranda, but the story of the Larkin family's struggles over whether one of its members is a murderer isn't particularly memorable. At one point, Philip holds forth on the port-wine stain on a police detective's face, remarking, "I want to get off the subject, as well, because as a writer I hate that port-wine stain. It is a clumsy, ridiculous device and, believe me, I'm embarrassed by it." This sort of writerly digression doesn't add much. Landay has done better. Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Part crime drama, part psychological suspense, Landay's new novel (long-awaited since 2012's Defending Jacob) is absolutely unputdownable, with an ingenious plot and a cast of comprehensive, accurately depicted characters. It is just another Wednesday, mid-November of 1975, when 10-year-old Miranda Larkin comes home from school to an empty house. At first, she's ecstatic to be by herself--until it gets later and later and still her mother is nowhere in sight. Two decades later, Jane Larkin's remains are found. Her husband Dan, a slick and formidable defense attorney, is the main suspect, but there's never been any proof. Jane's sister is accusatory. The three children--Alex, who was 17 at the time of the disappearance; Jeff, who was 12; and Miranda--were the most affected by their mother's absence. They are forced to choose sides, either for or against their father. Forty years after the disappearance, a novelist takes up the story, telling it through the lens of this fractured family, from day one through all the trials and tribulations until a bitter end. VERDICT Fans of Megan Goldin and Hank Phillippi Ryan and those who like open endings, complex plots, stories about family dynamics, and convoluted whodunits will devour this novel.--Debbie Haupt

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A woman vanishes, leaving her kids to wonder whether their father is a murderer. It's 2015, and author Philip Solomon has spent two years in search of an idea for his next project. Inspiration finally strikes while he's out for drinks with his childhood friend Jeff Larkin. In 1975, Jeff's younger sister, Miranda, came home from school to find the Larkins' Newton, Massachusetts, house locked and her mother, Jane, missing. Jane's purse was still in the front hall, so Miranda assumed she was running an errand. Hours passed, though, and Jane failed to return before night fell and Miranda's brothers, Jeff and Alex, and father, Dan, arrived home. The cops and Jane's sister, Kate, suspected Dan--a greedy, philandering criminal defense attorney--of foul play; without proof, however, the district attorney couldn't charge Dan, and the investigation went cold. Construction workers found Jane's body in 1993, but it provided no clues. As adults, the Larkin children now stand divided: Alex believes Dan's claims of innocence, while Jeff and Miranda do not. Although the novel begins with Phil as its narrator, Landay breaks the Larkins' tale into a series of "books," each set in a different era of the case and featuring a different storyteller and style. This approach allows Landay to explore how Jane's disappearance--and Dan's presumed guilt--impacts key players over the course of their lives but regrettably also leaves most characters half-sketched and bleeds what should be a riveting mystery of tension and drive. Devastating family drama that adds up to less than the sum of its parts. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

After I finished writing my last novel, I fell into a long silence. You might call it writer's block, but most writers don't use that term or even understand it. When a writer goes quiet, nothing is blocking and nothing is being blocked. He is just empty. I don't know why this silence settled over me. Now that it's over, I don't like to think about it. I only know that for months, then a year, then two years, I could not write. It did no good to struggle; the more I struggled, the tighter the noose became. I could not write, then I could not sleep, then I could not bear my own presence and I began to think dark thoughts. I won't dwell on the details; in my profession, there is a saying that a writer's troubles are of interest only to other writers. I mention my silent period here only because it is the reason I wrote this book, for it was during this time, when I would have grabbed at any plausible idea for a story, that I got an email from an old friend named Jeff Larkin. I have known Jeff since we were twelve years old. We met in September 1975 when we entered the seventh grade together at a very august and (to me) terrifying private school for boys, and we became pals almost immediately. Let me say, I am uneasy about starting a book this way, with friends and confessions about my childhood. I am not nostalgic for that time in my life. I'm not even sure an honest account is possible. I do not trust my own memories. I tell myself so many stories about my past, as we all do. Worse--­much worse--­I don't think a writer ought to insert himself into his stories this way. It generally distracts more than it deepens. A writer's place is offstage. But what choice do I have? If I am going to tell this story, there is no way around a little autobiography. So: When I was in sixth grade, my teacher called my parents, out of the blue, to suggest I was bored at school, which was certainly true. Had they considered sending me to a private school? Someplace rigorous and rules-­y, where I would not continue to be (I will paraphrase here) a daydreamer and a smart-­ass. My folks had never thought of it. They had both gone to public schools, and they presumed that fancy private schools were for Yankees. But Mom and Dad grasped the teacher's essential meaning: what I needed was a swift kick in the pants. So the next fall I found myself at a school that probably had not looked much different twenty or even fifty years earlier. There were no girls. There was a school necktie. Spanish was not taught, but ancient Latin was required. The gym was called a "palestra"; the cafeteria, the "refectory." Portraits of mustachioed old "masters" hung in the hallways. There was a half-­length painting of King Charles I gazing down at us with his needle nose and Vandyke beard, which alone might have cured me of daydreaming and smart-­assery. Even my parents were dazzled and intimidated by the place. My mother warned me, "They smile at you, these WASPs, but I promise you, behind closed doors they call us kikes." Jeff Larkin felt no such anxiety when he arrived at school. He was a prince. His older brother, Alex, was a senior and a three-­sport star, with the heroic aura that surrounds high school athletes. Jeff's dad was well known too. He was a criminal defense lawyer, the kind that showed up in the newspaper or on TV standing beside a gangster, swaggering on about the incompetence of the police and the innocence of his wrongly accused client. There was a dark glamour to Mr. Larkin's work, at least before the catastrophe, when his association with violent crime stopped being a thing to admire. But that came later. Forbidding as the school was, at least I had a new friend. Jeff and I hit it off right away. We were inseparable. It was one of those childhood friendships that was so natural and uncomplicated, we seemed to discover it more than we created it. I have no adult friendships like the one I had with Jeff. I am sure I never will. Once we slip on the armor of adulthood, we lose the ability to form that kind of naive, unqualified connection. But forty years later, when I got Jeff's email in 2015, we had been out of touch for a very long time. He reached me by sending a fan email from my author website, just as any stranger would do. "Hey," his email read in its entirety. "Loved the book. Mr. K_____ would be proud." (Mr. K_____ was a beloved English teacher.) "You up for a beer sometime?" "I'm up for three," I emailed back. "Or forty-­three. Just name the place." The place he named was Doyle's, an ancient pub in Jamaica Plain, now gone. It was a nostalgic choice. In our twenties, Jeff and I hung out there night after night, shooting the shit. The place had changed over the years. It was bigger and brighter now, more of a family restaurant than the grungy, patinaed old pub I remembered. But the long bar was still the same, and the ornate Victorian mirror behind the bartender. When I arrived, Jeff was waiting at the bar. His hair was gray, and his face was fuller and more deeply lined than I had expected, but when he saw me and stood up, grinning, he became my old friend again. "It's the famous author, Philip Solomon," he teased. "What an honor." And we hugged in the clumsy, equivocal way men do. For the next couple of hours, we drank and bantered as we always had. We picked up our conversation after twenty-­odd years as if we had just seen each other the day before. I am a shy man, and I was particularly quiet during that hard time, but this night I yammered like a fool and I laughed harder than I had in a long time. It was late, around midnight, when Jeff finally mentioned his mother's case and the forty years of misery that followed. We had moved from the bar to a booth by then. His voice was low and confidential. "You heard about my dad?" "No." "He has Alzheimer's." "Whoa. I'm sorry." "Convenient, isn't it?" "That's not how most people think of it." "He gets to forget. Or pretend to." "You think he's pretending?" "I don't know. Haven't seen him. I get my information from Miranda." Miranda is Jeff's little sister, younger by a year and a half. "Miranda talks to him?" "She's taking care of him." I made a face: Really? "She wants me to go see him. Before it's too late." "So go. What's the difference?" "I wouldn't give him the satisfaction." "He has Alzheimer's. He won't remember anyway." "That's what Mimi says. She says it's gone on long enough." He put on a mocking tone: "I'm lost in the maze of hate ." "The maze of hate? That's a thing?" "Don't even--­I can't." He shook his head. "Miranda." "It's a good name for a band, Maze of Hate." "She says when I hate him, I'm only hurting myself." "That could actually be true." "Maybe. Doesn't mean I'm gonna stop." "Attaboy. You stay in that maze of hate. Great decision." "You should call her, Phil. She'd love to hear from you." "Miranda? Nah. Well, maybe. I dunno." "Don't worry, I won't tell your wife." "That's very considerate, thank you." He gave me a dopey drunk grin. "Maybe it'll give you something to write about." Excerpted from All That Is Mine I Carry with Me: A Novel by William Landay All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.