New York Times Bestseller
Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan—first introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues—becomes involved in a complicated investigation that will force her to question her loyalties.
“Chilling, insightful, and edge-of-your seat exciting.”—USA Today
For Tess Monaghan, the unsolved murder of a young federal prosecutor is nothing more than a theoretical problem, one of several cases to be deconstructed in her new gig as a consultant to the local newspaper. But it becomes all too tangible when her boyfriend, Crow, brings home a young street kid who’s a juvenile con artist and who doesn’t even realize he holds an important key to the sensational homicide.
Tess agrees to protect the boy’s identity no matter what, especially when one of his friends is killed in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. But as she soon discovers, her ethical decision to protect him has dire consequences. And with federal agents determined to learn the boy’s name at any cost, Tess finds out just how far even official authorities will go to get what they want.
It isn’t long before Tess finds herself facing felony charges. To make matters worse, Crow has gone into hiding with his young protégé. So Tess can’t deliver the kid to investigators even if she wants to. Now her only recourse is to get to the heart of the sordid and deadly affair while they're all still free...and still breathing.
Smartly plotted and paced, Lippman's ninth Tess Monaghan novel (after By a Spider's Thread) opens with a somewhat unlikely scenario: Tess's boyfriend, Edgar "Crow" Ransome, brings home for the night a homeless teenager, Lloyd, who slashed Crow's tires outside a Baltimore soup kitchen. When PI Tess discovers that Lloyd has information regarding the recent murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Youssef, Tess gives his story, sans name, to the local paper, so the authorities will get it secondhand. After a crony of Lloyd's is murdered instead of Lloyd, Tess receives her first visit from a sinister trio of law enforcement agents avid to know her source. Crow flees with Lloyd while Tess suffers growing pressure, including the threat of federal jail time. Baltimore itself is the book's most compelling character, its uneasy mix of aspiration and decay perfectly suited to Lippman's ironic voice. Crow is the book's weakest link; even a late revelation about his motives fails to make his sudden paternalism toward Lloyd believable. Happily, Lippman's loyal fans won't mind. Author tour.