Would you sacrifice your life for the life of another? That's the choice Tess Monaghan must face . . .
When the body of Federal Attorney Gregory Youssef is found dumped on the edge of Baltimore, every cop in the city is determined to catch his killer. But four months on, no one has been brought to justice and the department is under massive pressure to deliver a suspect. Meanwhile, Tess' boyfriend insists on helping a homeless black teenager. He brings Lloyd home for some food and a bed for the night, but when Tess mentions the Youssef case, Lloyd freezes.
That night, Lloyd sneaks out of the house and disappears. What is the link between Youssef's death and the teenager? Tess tracks Lloyd down and convinces him to share what he knows - which she then passes on to the press on the condition that Lloyd's name isn't used. But they use Tess' name instead.
Before long the situation spins wildly out of control, leaving Tess to fear not only for Lloyd, but also for those closest to her . . .
Emond has played some amazing characters in the past; her brilliant performance in Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul won her an Obie Award. But she is mismatched for No Good Deeds. Lippman's new crime novel commences with a prologue by Crow, Tess Monaghan's boyfriend. The juxtaposition of male narrator and female voice is rather jarring, but mercifully brief. Emond's strongest suit is her performance of the narrative itself, filled as it is with Lippman's intimate knowledge of South Baltimore and its denizens. Unfortunately, the characters themselves are barely distinguishable: white, black, mature or young they sound alike. Perhaps Emond was puzzled about how to handle the novel's bizarre plotting for instance, Crow's insistence on taking home with him the youth who has slashed his tire. It's hard to pay attention to tracking the intricacies of a crime novel when you fear the sleuths need therapy. Perhaps the author is as much off here as the performer. Baltimore crime buffs might opt for a rerun of The Wire instead. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, May 15).