New York Times Bestseller
Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan—first introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues—must protect an up-and-coming Hollywood actress, but when murder strikes on a TV set, the unflappable PI discovers everyone’s got a secret.
“[A] welcome addition to Tess Monaghan’s adventures and an insightful look at the desperation that drives those grasping for a shot at fame and those who will do anything to keep it.”—San Francisco Chronicle
When private investigator Tess Monaghan literally runs into the crew of the fledgling TV series Mann of Steel while sculling, she expects sharp words and evil looks, not an assignment. But the company has been plagued by a series of disturbing incidents since its arrival on location in Baltimore: bad press, union threats, and small, costly on-set "accidents" that have wreaked havoc with its shooting schedule. As a result, Mann's creator, Flip Tumulty, the son of a Hollywood legend, is worried for the safety of his young female lead, Selene Waites, and asks Tess to serve as her bodyguard. Tumulty's concern may be well founded. Recently, a Baltimore man was discovered dead in his home, surrounded by photos of the beautiful—if difficult—aspiring star.
In the past, Tess has had enough trouble guarding her own body. Keeping a spoiled movie princess under wraps may be more than she can handle since Selene is not as naive as everyone seems to think, and instead is quite devious. Once Tess gets a taste of this world of make-believe—with their vanities, their self-serving agendas, and their remarkably skewed visions of reality—she’s just about ready to throw in the towel.
But she’s pulled back in when a grisly on-set murder occurs, threatening to topple the wall of secrets surrounding Mann of Steel as lives, dreams, and careers are scattered among the ruins.
Hollywood comes to Baltimore in bestseller Lippman's assured 10th PI Tess Monaghan caper (after 2006's No Good Deeds). When Tess literally stumbles onto the set of Mann of Steel, a big-budget TV miniseries shooting in her neighborhood, she finds herself hired as a bodyguard for Selene Waites, the show's 20-year-old hard-partying star. Flip Tumulty the show's writer and son of a Baltimore-born Hollywood mogul tells Tess the set has been plagued by vandalism and he fears for Selene's safety. Tess soon uncovers unsettling photos of Selene and learns they were taken by Wilbur Grace, a stalker who later hanged himself. When one of the crew members is murdered, Tess suspects someone may be trying to shut down more than the TV production. While the excitement level may not match that of other recent entries in the series, fans will appreciate the author's usual authentic local color and intricate plotting. 15-city author tour.