When New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan investigates five cold case murders, she doesn’t expect the investigation to become personal…
Tess Monaghan agrees to look into a series of unsolved homicides that date back over the past six years despite the fact that the assignment originates from a 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.
Apart from the suspicion that each death was the result of domestic violence, nothing else seems to connect them. Five lives—four women, one man—ended in various ways. The only thing the five cases seem to have is that they are now ice cold. Tess’ search for the 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 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.
As she strays 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. But at last, a single link to the murders emerges. Unfortunately, it's Tess.
Favors for friends don't always turn out as expected, Tess Monagham learns in this harrowing encounter with obsession involving her own past. At the urging of best friend Whitney Talbot, Tess agrees to research how police inexperienced with murder cases handle domestic-violence-related investigations. Delving into the specifics of the five deaths she's been assigned, Tess begins to sense that a simple review of the facts won't suffice and that these aren't isolated incidents. Toll-facility cop Carl Dewitt, who found one victim's head on the roadway of a bridge and has become obsessed with that case, convinces her that his detailed knowledge and tenacity can help. The pair cover a lot of ground, from northern Maryland to Virginia, from Baltimore to the Eastern Shore to a remote island where simple beauty can't sustain young people and the aging population keeps its secrets. In the process, Tess confronts some old demons, including a figure who has watched for years as she rows alone in Baltimore Harbor. He knows all about her and is biding his time. Lippman narrows her circle, drawing predator and victim closer. She contrasts the methods of the privileged with the ways ordinary folk must cope and how disastrous the results can be when the monstrous invades their lives. 11-city author tour. FYI:Lippman has won Edgar, Agatha, Anthony and Shamus awards.