The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author returns with a new stand-alone novel—a powerful and utterly riveting tale that skillfully moves between past and present to explore the lasting effects of crime on a victim’s life….
Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman.
“There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I’d know you anywhere.”
In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears.
Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she’s never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She’s always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he’ll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims.
Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it—even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she’s kept buried inside.
An edgy, utterly gripping tale of psychological manipulation that will leave readers racing to the final page, is a virtuoso performance from acclaimed, award-winning author Laura Lippman that is sure to be her biggest hit yet.
One of the most acclaimed novelists in America today, Laura Lippman has greatly expanded the boundaries of mystery fiction and psychological suspense with her Tess Monaghan p.i. series and her New York Times bestselling standalone novels (What the Dead Know, Life Sentences, I'd Know You Anywhere, etc.). With The Most Dangerous Thing, the multiple award winning author – recipient of the Anthony, Edgar®, Shamus, and Agatha Awards, to name but a few – once again demonstrates how storytelling is done to perfection. Set once again in the well-wrought environs of Lippman's beloved Baltimore, it is the shadowy tale of a group of onetime friends forced to confront a dark past they've each tried to bury following the death of one of their number. Rich in the compassion and insight into flawed human nature that has become a Lippman trademark while telling an absolutely gripping story, The Most Dangerous Thing will not be confined by genre restrictions, reaching out instead to captive a wide, diverse audience, from Harlan Coben and Kate Atkinson fans to readers of Jodi Picoult and Kathryn Stockett.
Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life. But her tranquility is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. I'd know you anywhere.
In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition. Having wondered why Walter had let her live, she cautiously makes contact with him.
Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable life, will do anything to protect it – even if it means finally facing the terrible truth she's kept buried inside.
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 brings home a young street kid who doesn't even realize he holds an important key to the man’s death. 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 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. Soon she’s facing felony charges – and her boyfriend, Crow, has gone into hiding with his young protégé, so Tess can’t deliver the kid to investigators even if she wants to. Time and time again Tess is reminded of her father’s old joke, the one about the most terrifying sentence in the English language: “We're from the government – and we're here to help.”
After her brilliant stand-alone thriller EVERY SECRET THING (it has received stunning reviews in the US and increased her sales by 35%) Lippman returns to her wonderful series character, PI Tess Monaghan and her home town of Baltimore. This story begins when an orthodox Jewish man, Mark Rubin, hires Tess to trace his missing wife Natalie who has disappeared with their three children, a boy on the brink of adolescence, Isaac, and younger, boy/girl twins. It transpires that Natalie has taken off with another man, Zeke. The husband Mark, who loves his wife and adores his children, especially Isaac, is devastated. At first Tess has him marked as a control freak and thinks his wife may have had a point, but her feelings change. The narrative is shared between Tess, pursuing her investigation, and the family on the run whose story is told mainly from Isaac's point of view. This is a fascinating novel about men and women, parents and children, a family drama as much as mystery – it's highly intelligent and sensitive and, at the same time, a hugely compelling page-turner.
The California dream weavers have invaded Charm City with their cameras, their stars, and their controversy…
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/babysitter. Tumulty’s concern may be well founded. Not long ago a Baltimore man was discovered dead in his own home, surrounded by photos of the beautiful, difficult superstar-in-the-making.
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 – even with the help of Tess’s icily unflappable friend Whitney – since Selene is not as naive as everyone seems to think, and far more devious than she initially appears to be. This is not Tess’s world. And these are not her kind of people, with their vanities, their self-serving agendas and invented personas, and their remarkably skewed visions of reality – from the series’ aging, shallow, former pretty-boy leading man to its resentful, always-on-the-make cowriter to the officious young assistant who may be too hungry for her own good.
But the fish-out-of-water P.I. is abruptly pulled back in by an occurrence she’s all too familiar with – murder. Suddenly the wall of secrets around Mann of Steel is in danger of toppling, leaving shattered dreams, careers, and lives scattered among the ruins – a catastrophe that threatens the people Tess cares about… and the city she loves.
A curious little man attempts to hire PI Tess Monaghan to unmask the Visitor (also known as the Poe Toaster), who has been visiting the Baltimore grave of Edgar Allan Poe every year on 19 January for the past fifty years, leaving three red roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac. The man is committing no crime, and Tess refuses the assignment, but she worries that a less scrupulous private detective may take it on. So she goes to the 19 January vigil as an observer. In the freezing darkness she watches as two cloaked figures approach the grave, appear to embrace and then part. As they walk off in different directions, there's a gunshot and one is killed. Tess quickly learns that the dead man is not the regular Visitor. So who is he? And why was he there? When it turns out that Tess's would-be client had given her a fake name, she knows she must try to find him. And when an old friend from her past surfaces, claiming that the shooting was a homophobic hate crime, things only get more complicated…
Laura Lippman is one of the most acclaimed authors of crime fiction writing today, the winner of every major award the genre has to offer. Now she dazzles once again with a riveting stand-alone novel that takes on the secret – and not-so-secret – lives of teenage girls, illuminating a dark tragedy with startling clarity and unique empathy. To the Power of Three The three girls have been inseparable best friends since the third grade – Josie, the athletic one; Perri, the brilliant, acerbic drama queen; and Kat, the beauty, who also has brains, grace, and a heart open to all around her. But their last day of high school becomes their final day together after one of them brings a gun to school to resolve a mysterious feud. When the police arrive, they discover two wounded girls, one so critically that she is not expected to recover. The third girl is dead, killed instantly by a shot to the heart. What transpired that morning at Glendale High rocks the foundation of an affluent community in Baltimore ’s distant suburbs, a place that has barely recovered from an earlier, more comprehensible tragedy. For the shell-shocked parents, teachers, administrators, and students, healing must begin with answers to the usual questions – but only if the answers are safe ones, answers that will lead back to one girl and one family and absolve everyone else. For Homicide Sgt. Harold Lenhardt, this case is a mystery with more twists than these grief-stricken suburbanites are willing to acknowledge – and the sole lucid survivor, a girl with a teenager’s uncanny knack for stonewalling, strikes him as being less than honest. What is she concealing? Is she trying to protect herself or someone else? Even the simplest secrets can kill – and kill again if no one is willing to confront them. Breathtaking in its emotional depth, powerful, provocative, and consistently surprising, Laura Lippman’s To the Power of Three carries the crime novel into richer, more fertile territory. It is the crowning achievement to date in an already exemplary literary career.
Private Investigator Tess Monaghan knows all about the darker side of human nature, not least from her days as a reporter. But she never expected to be on the receiving end of a court sentence to attend six month's counselling for Anger Management. Tess starts the counselling but then her attention turns to a series of unsolved homicides. They appear to be overlooked cases of domestic violence. But the more Tess investigates, the more she is convinced that there is just one culprit. The Maryland State Police are sure that the serial killer Tess is now looking for is dead. So he can't be a threat. Can he? But he is very much alive and has found another victim to stalk: Tess.
It is early evening, summer time and hot. Two eleven year old girls, Alice and Ronnie, are on their way home from a swimming party when they happen to see a baby’s stroller, with baby girl sleeping inside, left unattended on the top step of a house. Ronnie says to Alice: “We have to take care of this baby.” But what exactly does she mean? Four days later the body of little Olivia Barnes is discovered in a hut in Baltimore ’s rambling Leakin Park by a young rookie detective, Nancy Porter. What can have happened in those four days to bring about this appalling crime? The girls are arrested and found guilty. Seven years later Ronnie and Alice, now eighteen, are released from their separate prisons, back into their old neighbourhood where the mother of baby Olivia still lives. Another child goes missing, and Nancy Porter and her partner get the case…
In a city like Baltimore, where someone is murdered almost on a daily basis, Attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But for PI Tess Monaghan's client, who is in the frame, time is running short to prove his innocence.
Tess Monaghan’s life is back on course. She is beginning to make a name for herself as a PI, she’s even banking good money. And then her father asks her a favour: to investigate the death in prison of a friend’s brother convicted of killing an unidentified girl, otherwise known as “Jane Doe”. Tess’s search leads her to “the Sugar House”, a brutal institution where she discovers Jane Doe’s real identity. And then Tess’s father begs her to drop the case… It is not until her parent’s house is set on fire and a body pulled from the wreckage, that she realises that her life may have taken a very wrong turning indeed – one from which there is no going back…
New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman has been hailed as one of the best crime fiction writers in America today, winning virtually every major award in the genre. The author of the enormously popular series featuring Baltimore P.I. Tess Monaghan as well as three critically lauded stand-alone novels, Lippman now turns her attention to short stories – and reveals another level of mastery.
Lippman sets many of the stories in this sterling anthology, Hardly Knew Her, in familiar territory: her beloved Baltimore, from downtown to its affluent suburbs, where successful businessmen go to shocking lengths to protect what they have or ruthlessly expand their holdings, while dissatisfied wives find murderous ways to escape their lives. But Lippman is also unafraid to travel – to New Orleans, to an unnamed southwestern city, and even to Dublin, the backdrop for the lethal clash of two not-so-innocents abroad. Tess Monaghan is here, in two stories and a profile, aligning herself with various underdogs. And in her extraordinary, never-before-published novella, Scratch a Woman, Lippman takes us deep into the private world of a high-priced call girl/madam and devoted soccer mom, exploring the mystery of what may, in fact, be written in the blood.
Each of these ingenious tales is a gem – sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous, always filled with delightfully unanticipated twists and reversals. For people who have yet to read Lippman, get ready to experience the spellbinding power of "one of today's most pleasing storytellers, hailed for her keen psychological insights and her compelling characterizations," (San Diego Union-Tribune), who has "invigorated the crime fiction arena with smart, innovative, and exciting work" (George Pelecanos). As for longtime devotees of her multiple award-winning novels, you'll discover that you hardly know her.
Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her sign as a private investigator for hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe its not the greatest address in Baltimore, but you've got to start somewhere. Then in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalising his car. Just out of prison, he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the 'Butcher of Butchers Hill' at it again? Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers that be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.
As a practised reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, PI Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore. It's a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon 'Wink' Wynkowski is trying to change all that by bringing pro basketball back to town, and everybody's rooting for him – until a devastating, muckraking expose of his lurid past appears on the front page of the Baltimore Beacon Light. It's a surprise even to the newspaper's editors, who thought they'd killed the piece. Instead, the piece killed Wink, who's found in his garage with the car running. Tess is hired to find the unknown computer hacker who planted the lethal story – but it doesn't take long for her to discover deeper, darker secrets…
Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who – or what – could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness? Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end – a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household. In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?