Cover image for The last place
Title:
The last place
Author:
Lippman, Laura, 1959-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow/HarperCollins, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
341 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780380978199
Format :
Book

Available:*

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X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her home town in 1989 to work as a journalist. After writing seven books while still a full-time reporter, she left the Baltimore Sun to focus on fiction.

Laura is the author of What the Dead Know, 2016 New York Times Bestseller, Another Thing to Fall, After I'm Gone, and Wilde Lake. She also writes the Tess Monaghan series. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

If Nancy Drew went on performance-enhancing drugs, she'd resemble Tess Monaghan, Lippman's Baltimore-based private eye. Tess has much more in common with the old-time girl sleuth than with contemporary women private eyes: she has neither the latter's overcompensating toughness nor their dourness. Tess does have a chum, and they delight in pranks like the one that starts off her latest caper, dumping two date-rape tablets into the drink of a would-be assailant of underage girls. Tess' chum even helps Tess' business by asking her to investigate a series of domestic-violence cases for her charitable foundation. The police have cleared the cases, but Tess' friend feels they bear further examination. From this slim plot device stems a road-trip mystery, in which Tess travels across Maryland and discovers the cover-up of a grisly decapitation. A somewhat shaky plot, rescued by Edgar-winning Lippman's wit and intelligence. Connie Fletcher.


Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Oct. 1) FYI: Lippman has won Edgar, Agatha, Anthony and Shamus awards. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In the seventh entry in Lippman's award-winning mystery series (and the third in hardcover after In a Strange City), someone is stalking feisty Baltimore P.I. Tess Monaghan. Tess is working for the foundation of moneyed college chum Whitney (who just got Tess involved in an escapade that has her in court-ordered therapy), investigating five seemingly unrelated open murder cases throughout Maryland to see whether there is a domestic homicide angle. Off the job, despite being happy with her younger boyfriend, Crow, Tess is having nightmares about seeing a former lover killed in front of her two years earlier. A Toll Authority cop who is obsessed with one of the murders (after finding the victim's decapitated head) becomes Tess's sidekick, and they follow a trail that eventually ties up all threads of the plot and leaves Tess with new nightmares. Lippman deftly juggles a sense of foreboding with quotidian details as she spins an engrossing tale, and she captures the essence of other Maryland venues as acutely as she does that of Baltimore. Tess is a standout among female protagonists in mysteries, and this is absolutely first-rate. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/02.]-Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Tess Monaghan was sitting outside a bar in the Baltimore suburbs. It was early spring, the mating season, and this bland but busy franchise was proof that birds do it, bees do it, even Baltimore County yuppies in golf pants and Top-Siders do it. "Kind of a benign hangout for a child molester," Tess said to Whitney Talbot, her oldest friend, her college roomie, her literal partner in crime on a few occasions. "Although it is convenient to several area high schools, as well as Towson University and Goucher." "Possible child molester," Whitney corrected from the driver's seat of the Suburban. Whitney's vehicles only seemed to get bigger over the years, no matter what the price of gas was doing. "We don't have proof that he knew how young Mercy was when this started. Besides, she's sixteen, Tess. You were having sex at sixteen." "Yeah, with other sixteen-year-olds. But if he came after your cousin - " "Second cousin, once removed." "My guess is he's done it before. And will do it again. Your family solved the Mercy problem. But how do we keep him from becoming some other family's problem? Not everyone can pack their daughters off to expensive boarding schools, you know." "They can't?" But Whitney's raised eyebrow made it clear that she was mocking her family and its money. The two friends stared morosely through the windshield, stumped by the stubborn deviancy of men. They had saved one girl from this pervert's clutches. But the world had such a large supply of girls, and an even larger supply of perverts. The least they could do was reduce the pervert population by one. But how? If Tess knew anything of compulsive behavior - and she knew quite a bit - it was that most people didn't stop, short of a cataclysmic intervention. A heart attack for a smoker, the end of a marriage for a drinker. Their Internet buddy was in serious need of an intervention. "You don't have to go in there," Whitney said. "Yeah, I do." "And then what?" "You tell me. This was your plan." "To tell you the truth, I didn't think it would get this far." It had been six weeks since Whitney had first come to Tess with this little family drama, the saga of her cousin and what she had been doing on the Internet late at night. Correction: second cousin, once removed. The quality of Mercy was definitely strained, weakened by intermarriage and a few too many falls in the riding ring. And perhaps Mercy would have been a trimester into the unplanned pregnancy she had been bucking for, if it weren't for a late-night hunger pang. Mercy was foraging for provisions in the kitchen when her computer-illiterate mother had entered her bedroom just in time to hear the sparkly thrush of music that accompanies an IM and seen this succinct question: "Are you wearing panties?" Within days, Mercy's hard drive had been dissected, revealing a voluminous correspondence between her and a man who claimed to be a twenty-five-year-old stockbroker. Mercy's parents had pulled the plug, literally and figuratively, on her burgeoning romance. But by Whitney's calculation, that left one miscreant free to roam, continuing his panty census. It had been Tess's idea to search for Music Loverr in his world. With the help of a computer-savvy friend, they created a dummy account for a mythical creature known as Varsity Grrl and began exploring the crevices of the Internet, looking for those places where borderline pedophiles were most likely to stalk their prey. Whitney and Tess had both taken turns at the keyboard, but it was Tess who lured Music Loverr, now rechristened GoToGuy, into the open. She had finally found him in a chat room devoted to girls' lacrosse. They had retreated to a private room at his invitation - an invitation that followed her more or less truthful description of herself, down to and including her thirty-six-inch inseam. Then she had watched, in almost grudging admiration, as this virtual man began the long patient campaign necessary to seduce a high school girl. As she waited for his messages to pop up - he was a much slower typist than she - Tess thought of the movie Bedazzled , the original one, where Peter Cook, a most devilish devil, tells sad-sack Dudley Moore that a man can have any woman in the world if he'll just stay up listening to her until ten past four in the morning. Tess figured a teenage girl could be had by midnight. Not that GoToGuy knew her pretend age, not at first. He had teased that out of her, Tess being evasive in what she hoped was a convincingly adolescent way. She made him wait a week before she admitted she was under twenty-one. Well, under eighteen, actually. Can we still be friends? she had typed. Definitely, he replied. The courtship only intensified. They soon had a standing date to chat at 10 p.m. Tess would pour herself a brimming glass of red wine and sit down to her laptop with great reluctance, opening up the account created for just this purpose. Afterward, she showered or took a hot bath. Do you have a fake ID? GoToGuy had IM'd her two nights ago. Finally. He had been slow enough on the uptake, although not so slow that he had revealed anything about his true identity, which was what Tess really wanted. No. Do you know how I can get one? Sure enough, he did. Last night, informed that she had gone and obtained the fake ID, he had asked if she knew of this bar, which happened to be within walking distance of the Light Rail - in case she didn't drive or couldn't get the family car. And I can always drive you home, he promised. I bet you can, Tess had thought, her fingers hovering above the keys before she typed her assent. Her stomach lurched. She wondered if he had gotten this far with Mercy. The girl swore they had never met, but the tracking software was not perfect. E-mails could have been lost ... Excerpted from The Last Place by Laura Lippman Copyright © 2002 by Laura Lippman Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.