The Last Place: A Tess Monaghan Mystery
In hot legal water—and court-ordered therapy—for having assaulted a potential child molester, Tess Monaghan is more than ready for a distraction. So she agrees to look into a series of unsolved homicides that date back over the past six years despite the fact that the assignment originates in part from a most troubling source: wealthy Baltimore benefactor Luisa O’Neal, who was both instrumental in launching Tess’s present career and intimately connected with the murder of Tess’s former boyfriend.
There are other troubling aspects as well. Apart from the suspicion that each death was the result of domestic violence, nothing else seems to connect them, Five lives—those of four women and one man—were destroyed by fire, gunshot, and hit-and-run, and all five cases have gone ice cold. Though Luisa’s nonprofit organization hires Tess simply to review old police documents for inconsistencies and investigative blunders, curiosity is soon leading the P.I. off the paper trail.
And it just may get her killed. Tess’s search for connecting threads takes her beyond the Charm City limits and into dangerously unfamiliar territory. With the help of a police officer obsessed with bringing a murderer down, she follows scant leads and intuition into the remotest corners of Maryland, where a psychopath can hide as easily in the fabric of a tiny, rough-hewn fishing community as in the alleys and shadows of bustling Baltimore. Straying far from everything that’s familiar and safe in her life, Tess is suddenly cast into a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with an ingenious slayer who changes identities as often and effortlessly as clothing. Because a single common link to five senseless murders is beginning to emerge with shocking clarity to tie the loose ends together into one bloody knot…and the link is Tess Monaghan herself.
Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan knows what to do with a jerk who prowls the Internet looking for love in all the wrong places: pretend to be smitten, slip one of his own date-rape drugs into his drink, cover him with depilatory cream, and leave him in a public place so he’ll be too ashamed to do it again. It’s hard to follow an opening chapter like that, but Lippman manages it nicely, putting her smart-mouth series sleuth in court-ordered anger-management counseling. The sessions with her shrink spur a most uncharacteristic—-for Tess—reflection on five cold-case homicides she’s investigating for a foundation lobbying for increased funding for domestic abuse programs. They don’t seem to be connected, but with the help of the retired Toll Facilities cop who discovered the head of one of the victims in the middle of his bridge, Tess discovers a serial killer no one even knew existed—until he made Tess his next target. This is the seventh outing in a lively, original series that keeps getting better and better. —Jane Adams
Barnes and Noble
A string of unsolved homicides sends private investigator Tess Monaghan hightailing it around the state of Maryland searching for a culprit. As she attempts to connect the disparate dots, she starts to wonder if these violent incidents might hold clues to a murder in her own past. Sue Grafton fans will find it easy to identify with Lippman’s down-to-earth, personable Baltimore sleuth.