|Private investigator Tess Monaghan is asked to look into five
apparently unrelated, unsolved homicides for a non-profit consortium
interested in domestic violence. While one of the organisations of the
consortium is the foundation of her friend Whitney's family, another is
the William Tree Foundation of Luisa O'Neal, an old enemy of Tess.
Nevertheless, she decides to take the case, seeing it as a worthwhile
|Early investigations bear little fruit and Tess begins to feel she
has been sent on a wild goose chase. However, she perseveres,
discovering an intricate and well-planned serial murder. Along the way,
she joins forces with Carl Dewitt, a former Toll Facilities police
officer who found one of the victims. Their partnership begins as an
uneasy alliance, with Carl's gung-ho style and movie quotations striking
Tess as the approach of an enthusiastic amateur. In fact, the state
police dismiss him as obsessive and make it clear that they take Tess
little more seriously, trying to keep both out of the case when they
report what they have learned. Gradually, a degree of understanding and
respect builds up between Tess and Carl as they make progress with the
investigation, each using their particular talents to good effect.
|Laura Lippman has put together a cleverly plotted novel which is
complex enough to keep the reader's interest without creating confusion,
although there is some subtle misleading. From a moderately slow
beginning, she builds up tension and pace at a steady level, taking us
to the denouement in roller coaster fashion. The result is an
entertaining novel, with a sound plot and likeable characters.