Book Review: Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

25 Feb

Genre: Detective fiction

Series: Tess Monaghan #1

Publisher: HarperCollins (William Morrow)

Pub date: 2007

Source: Personal copy

This book chronicles Tess Monaghan’s very first case. If you’ve been reading my blog, you might have noticed my fan girl sort of review for Laura Lippman’s latest Tess Monaghan book – The Girl in the Green Raincoat. I absolutely loved Tess and enjoyed Lippman’s writing so much that I just had to read the entire series. Writers and their characters grow as the series progress and that is evident in the difference between this first book and the latest one. Although the style is not quite what I got used to in The Girl in the Green Raincoat, I liked this enough that my plan to read the entire series is in no way affected.

Tess Monaghan is struggling to make ends meet after having lost her job as a reporter in recession-hit Maryland. Juggling boredom, her rowing and her job at her aunt’s bookstore, she is desperate for things to change, but is reluctant to leave Baltimore and look for opportunities elsewhere.

Her rower buddy Rock asks her to tail his fiancee hoping to make some sense of her recent strange behavior. Seeing a chance to make some easy money, Tess takes it on, although she has some reservations.This low-risk job turns into a big stakes one when Rock is charged with murder of an eccentric city lawyer.

One of the first things that comes in this book across is the author’s love for Baltimore. The city itself plays a big part in the story.

The other thing that struck me was that Tess is not an admirable character in this story – she gets into scrapes of her own making and doesn’t stop to think how her actions might be affecting others. She is a little whiny and seems to have lost her way in life a little.

The mystery was engaging and kept me guessing and changing my mind throughout. As the first book in the series, this one is a little rough around the edges, but I know that the books do get better. It was very interesting to see the beginning of Tess the PI. It was great to see her changing from a whiny ex-reporter to her seeing the potential in doing something else with her life using the skills she had and developing others.

Crow, Whitney and some other characters make their appearance here and I look forward to seeing how all of them develop through the series.

Despite my bias towards this author/series/character, I’d have to say this was a better than okay read, not brilliant. But read it and keep at the series. I know it gets brilliant.

Rating: 3.5*

*See my Rating policy

Do you agree with my review, or do you think I’m way off? Just want to say hi? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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