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The Last Place by Laura Lippman

The Last Place (2003)

by Laura Lippman

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4831132,398 (3.71)15



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
the stories feel like they are getting a bit grittier and creepier as this series progresses. in this book, lippman gives 'tess' opportunities to show vulnerability, and brings in a couple of new supporting characters who are used really well. lippman is great at projecting mood and urgency with her writing. ( )
  Booktrovert | Jun 5, 2018 |
Not my usual genre, but I discovered that I like the protagonist. Murder of disparate individuals is linked by Tess and companion. Murderer found. Not too grisly until the end. Might read more of these. ( )
  bereanna | Sep 1, 2017 |
Synopsis: Tess has been hired by a philanthropic group to see if the police bungles five murders that might be the result of domestic violence. As it turns out she has actually been hired by her arch nemesis, Luisa O'Neal, to find the serial killer who is on the loose.
Review: This is one of the best of the series. Tess is having to face her weaknesses, the murder that started her career is finally solved, and she has to learn to work with someone else on an equal footing. She also must face her guilt about taking a life. ( )
  DrLed | May 17, 2017 |
I just love Tess Monaghan. She's a flawed heroine who tries her best and gets into scrapes, but champions the underdog and never gives up.
Tess has to confront some people from her past when she's hired by the board of Whitney's foundation to look into some old cases that may be about domestic abuse. Also, someone is stalking her. The two may or may not be related.
This one was just creepy, but very suspenseful and kept me turning pages. ( )
  EmScape | Mar 16, 2015 |
There's nothing more satisfying than a clichéd plot that is done well enough to be elevated to something more significant.

In the detective noir genre, there's nothing more chlichéd than a serial killer, and The Last Place is Lippman's obligatory serial killer book. It starts out with a scene that, with another author, might be treated as a joke. Lippman's private investigator protagonist, Tess Monaghan, at her friend Whitney's instigation, tricks a wannabe pedophile into taking his own date rape drugs and then denudes him of his hair with a few well-placed squirts of Nair. But the reason why I respect Lippman as a writer is that in her world, actions have consequences. Although Tess (and the narrator) initially present these actions as humorous, Tess quickly ends up with felony charges and court-mandated anger management therapy. Whitney, characteristically not particularly apologetic for her part in the escapade, tries to make amends by presenting Tess with what should be an easy case to solve. Of course, Whitney's case turns out to be more than it seems, and Tess is pulled into a game in which she is both the hunter and the prey for a serial killer.

So why, then, is this the first Laura Lippman book I've ever given a 5 to? The only thing more chlichéd than a serial killer is a serial killer who goes after a bevy of beautiful women, starts to fixate on the detective, and provides snippets of chapters from his own viewpoint. While The Last Place is indeed all of those things, it is yet something more. It is a book about symmetry and consequences. It retraces Tess's steps and her entrance into her new profession and manages to compare Tess's own state of mind to the psyche of a serial killer. For once, the serial killer is not an above-average genius and Lippman does not approach him with awe or fascination. Instead, she tries to examine how perhaps neutral or even good emotions can be twisted and taken too far, and draws parallels to Tess's own actions in the process. At the same time, this isn't an adventure book in which the oh-so-brilliant detective is always multiple steps ahead of his adversary. Tess is repeatedly played by the killer, and her path to discovering him depends on chance and the help of others and her own dogged determination just as much as any mental acuity. Lippman's books usually unabashedly confront various feminist themes, and this book is no exception, as it explores the Pygmalion-and-Galatea attitude that can both create and destroy relationships and people. What I think I loved most was the symmetry, as it takes us back to Tess's first adventure (Baltimore Blues) and both answers and reopens some of the questions there.

Tess is a dynamic and startlingly imperfect character, and in my first interactions with her, I was disgusted by her egocentrism and sense of entitlement. The narration, although in third person, presents the world from Tess's viewpoint, and I had trouble sympathizing with a character so self-righteous or an author who seemingly approved so readily of her character's thoughtless and selfish actions. I underestimated Lippman. In each subsequent book, Tess has grown a little, and been forced to look back on her previous actions. That is most true in this book, in which Tess is forced to try to understand herself as well as the man who is hunting her.

Altogether, despite its rather standard plot, The Last Place not only is an interesting read, but turns the previous books in the series into something more. ( )
1 vote page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380810247, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:40 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Five lives in the Baltimore area have been brutally destroyed over the past six years-five unsolved homicides, seemingly unconnected except for the suspicion that each death was the result of domestic violence. In hot legal water, and court-ordered therapy, Tess Monaghan accepts an assignment with a local nonprofit organization, agreeing to review police documents on each case for inconsistencies and investigative blunders. But curiosity is leading the disgraced P.I. off the paper trail as she follows scant leads and intuitions into the most remote corners of Maryland, where a psychopath can hide as easily in the fabric of a tiny fishing community as in the alleys and shadows of Charm City. Because a single common thread 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.… (more)

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