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Last Place: A Tess Monaghan Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2012

Book 7 of 12 in the Tess Monaghan Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan knows what to do with a jerk who prowls the Internet looking for love in all the wrong places: pretend to be smitten, slip one of his own date-rape drugs into his drink, cover him with depilatory cream, and leave him in a public place so he'll be too ashamed to do it again. It's hard to follow an opening chapter like that, but Lippman manages it nicely, putting her smart-mouth series sleuth in court-ordered anger-management counseling. The sessions with her shrink spur a most uncharacteristic—-for Tess--reflection on five cold-case homicides she's investigating for a foundation lobbying for increased funding for domestic abuse programs. They don't seem to be connected, but with the help of the retired Toll Facilities cop who discovered the head of one of the victims in the middle of his bridge, Tess discovers a serial killer no one even knew existed--until he made Tess his next target. This is the seventh outing in a lively, original series that keeps getting better and better. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Tess Monaghan Novel (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062070908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062070906
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about "accidental PI" Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor's Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association. Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light. Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since.

Customer Reviews

I thought this book was very well written.
John D. Busteed
I've read all but one of the Tess series and think this is the best yet.
I wanted the book to be longer, to keep going!
Annette Rodig

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By FictionAddiction.NET on April 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From the beginning page you are introduced to the killer and the knowledge that he is watching someone again stays in the front of your mind as you get to know him better. His history and his thoughts are sprinkled throughout the book and lead you to "The Last Place."
Tess is a private investigator with a past that haunts her. Her ex-boyfriend was killed years prior and she continues to suffer from occasional nightmares, reliving his death.
She has issues with anger management, which are portrayed quite well when she gets a little revenge on a potential child molester. She is arrested and sentenced to anger management counseling.
Tess's wealthy friend, Whitney, offers her a private investigator assignment which involves reviewing old, unsolved domestic abuse murder cases in order to help bring about lobbying for funding and training for small town cops handling domestic abuse situations. Whitney is part of a group of several non profit foundations that have joined together and are in search of ways to reduce the number of domestic-violence homicides in their state. Though Tess's old archenemy, Luisa O'Neal, is somewhat involved in the group, Tess accepts the assignment with the understanding that Luisa is not an active member of the board.
There is a list of five unsolved cases for Tess to investigate. She was not hired to search for the killer but rather to check into the specifics of the police investigations on each file.
Initially, the cases do not seem connected but then Tess begins to question whether or not they are in some way. She always begins to wonder if Luisa O'Neal had more involvement in this project than Tess was told about, or anyone was told, for that matter. Soon Tess is questioning everything and everyone looking for the link.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Raymond M. Rose on February 23, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Laura knows her stuff. I'm not talking about reporting or the ins and outs of a being a working PI but writing novels. Not just novels but damn good novels. Here, Laura knows her stuff. Very, very well.

The Last Place is excellent. If you've never read her before, you are going to be surprised. Actually, if you've never read her before I would say go back to the beginning with Baltimore Blues because you need to read the progression of her character. Tess doesn't start off this tough as nails, sharp as a tack PI but as a reporter looking for work. Not only will you see the progression of the character but also the writer. Laura keeps getting better. With every book she takes what she learned from the last one and builds upon it. Her narration gets stronger, her descriptions more detailed, her plot tighter, and her books keep getting better. Laura knocks me side the head with each new novel and The Last Place is no exception.

Actually, it's better than that. I put this book down with a sense that I had just read something amazing and strong and the tip of an iceberg. I put this book down very pleased and for that I quite indebted to her. Thank you Ms. Lipman.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Judith F. Mooney on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is wonderful PI story, that I couldn't put down. As I started to read it, I recognized many references to Baltimore Blues,the first in the Tess Monaghan series. I immediately went and reread Baltimore Blues, and was glad I did. The Last Place answers many of the questions remaining from the first book.
As a mystery on its own, it is powerful and extremely well written. I do hope Laura Lippman doesn't wait too long for another installment.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on January 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It started out as a routine investigation for Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan. A nonprofit group hired her to look into several small-town unsolved murders as part of a study to determine whether the police had done a good job, and whether domestic violence was at the root. But soon she discovered something unexpected--a link between two of the cases, which were supposedly chosen at random.
Tess meets up with an unlikely ally--a former Toll Facilities cop, Carl Dewitt, who is obsessed with one of the murders. When they compare notes, they realize they're dealing with an extraordinarily clever serial killer--and that Tess is his real target, but for an unknown reason.
As Tess and Carl investigate, sometimes cooperating with the state police, sometimes defying it, they start to realize that they're following a script only the killer knows, and he's always one step ahead of them. As she struggles with the fear and the mind games, Tess is also battling her own demons, forced on her by a court-ordered anger-management psychiatrist.
Author Laura Lippman's novel has that rare combination of character, action, intellectual puzzle and flashes of humor that blend for a first-rate mystery. This is not a feel-good book, though. It made me a little sad.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K.T. Reid on July 24, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love Laura Lippman's writing style. My introduction to her work was What the Dead Know -- an incredible emotional ride of a mystery novel. The Last Place was the first Tess Monaghan novel I'd read (actually listened to as an audiobook read by Laurence Bouvard).

I thought Ms. Lippman did a great job presenting the personality and deranged thought process of the serial killer, juxtaposed against the inexorable logic of the private eyes determined to find him out. I thought the ending was justifiably exciting and violent, and quite satisfying. The author worked up to it in admirable fashion. I like Tess Monaghan as a protagonist. She's smart, practical, fun-loving, tough, sounds like a real person. Her boyfriend, Crow, however, comes across as a bit of a wimp and an airhead, and not quite up to her caliber. Their relationship seems almost entirely based on sex, which is hard to accept considering what a complex person Tess is.

The issues I had with the book, maybe because I enjoyed it as an audiobook rather than a read, are that I couldn't quite understand why the bad guy serial killer would want to get caught by revealing the list of his murders to Tess and why he would be stalking her in particular as she didn't fit the mold of one of his victims. It was necessary for the story to work but it didn't quite make sense from the point of view of "reality".

Minor issues. This book held my attention from the first page to the last.
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