Summary and book reviews of The Last Place by Laura Lippman

The Last Place

A Tess Monaghan Mystery

by Laura Lippman

The Last Place by Laura Lippman X
The Last Place by Laura Lippman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2002, 341 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2003, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

"Lippman, reporter for the Baltimore Sun, excels at vivid portraits of her town's offbeat neighborhoods, hangouts and inhabitants. Seen through the eyes of her protagonist--a smart, funny P.I. named Tess Monaghan--Baltimore is never dull."

Over the course of six novels featuring Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan, author Laura Lippman has won a mantel full of awards (including the Edgar), consistently resounding critical acclaim ("The best mystery writing around" -- Village Voice), and a well-deserved reputation among readers as one of the very brightest lights in contemporary crime fiction -- a reputation now brilliantly reconfirmed as Tess returns to find a nightmare in the last place she ever thought to look for it.

In hot legal water -- and court-ordered therapy -- for having assaulted a potential child molester, Tess Monaghan is more than ready for a distraction. So she agrees to look into a series of unsolved homicides that date back over the past six years despite the fact that the assignment originates in part from a most 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.

There are other troubling aspects as well. Apart from the suspicion that each death was the result of domestic violence, nothing else seems to connect them, Five lives -- those of four women and one man -- were destroyed by fire, gunshot, and hit-and-run, and all five cases have gone ice cold. Though Luisa's nonprofit organization hires Tess simply to review old police documents for inconsistencies and investigative blunders, curiosity is soon leading the P.I. off the paper trail.

And it just may get her killed. Tess's search for 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 and intuition 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. Straying 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. Because a single common link to five senseless murders is beginning to emerge with shocking clarity to tie the loose ends together into one bloody knot...and the link is Tess Monaghan herself.

Chapter One

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 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Cleveland Plain Dealer
A major work of suspense.

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
The Last Place is the first place readers should turn to for a superior story.

Seattle Times
Lippman, reporter for the Baltimore Sun, excels at vivid portraits of her town's offbeat neighborhoods, hangouts and inhabitants. Seen through the eyes of her protagonist--a smart, funny P.I. named Tess Monaghan--Baltimore is never dull.

Houston Chronicle
Laura Lippman in her series featuring Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan just keeps getting better and better

New York Times Book Review
Spectacular. . . . A fast, cleverly allusive story.

Publishers Weekly
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.

Boolist - Connie Fletcher
If Nancy Drew went on performance-enhancing drugs, she'd resemble Tess Monaghan, Lippman's Baltimore-based private eye....A somewhat shaky plot, rescued by Edgar-winning Lippman's wit and intelligence.

Library Journal - Michele Leber
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.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Laura Lippman

If you liked The Last Place, try these:

  • The Dangerous Edge of Things jacket

    The Dangerous Edge of Things

    by Tina Whittle

    Published 2011

    About this book

    Tai Randolph thinks inheriting a Confederate-themed gun shop is her biggest headache - until she finds a murdered corpse in her brother's driveway.

  • The Blade Itself jacket

    The Blade Itself

    by Marcus Sakey

    Published 2007

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Danny Carter started his life as a petty criminal, living from score to score with his friend Evan. Years later, Danny has built a new world for himself: a legitimate career, a girlfriend, and a clean conscience. He’s normal, successful. Happy. Until he spots his old partner staring him down in a smoky barroom mirror. Prison-hardened Evan, ...

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.