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In Big Trouble (1999)

by Laura Lippman

Series: Tess Monaghan (4)

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5731732,799 (3.59)17
First as a reporter and then as a PI, Tess Monaghan has learned how to survive and thrive on the streets of Baltimore. But a new case will force her to confront her own past, and a man she loved and lost. It starts when she gets a newspaper photograph of her old boyfriend with a tantalizing shard of headline attached: In Big Trouble. The answers lie far from Baltimore, deep in a world of good-time music, old-fashioned ambition, and rich people's games. For Tess must find out what happened to a man she thought she knew, to a woman who may have changed him forever, and to the victims of a killer who dances to a different-and deadly-drummer.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
The fourth Tess Monaghan mystery.

At the beginning, Tess is still apart from Crow, the young man she had been dating, even living with. The two had parted when Tess admitted she was not ready for a serious relationship. Or something to that effect. Tess finds it hard to be close to people, but that doesn't stop people from being close to her. She has many friends, more than most of us, I'd bet.

When she receives an odd item in the mail, a photograph of Crow cut from a newspaper with just "In Big Trouble" left of the headline at the top, she is a bit curious but not too. Over time, though, she decides she has to solve this mystery and she heads out to find him.

What she finds is not straightforward. In New Orleans she tracks down his band and where they play, and meets a variety of interesting - and maybe more than interesting - people in the process.

The Tess Monaghan mysteries bring us Laura Lippman's Baltimore, in its glory and in its oddities. In this case, we also get our share of New Orleans. I enjoy reading about the real details of these cities almost as much as I like trekking along with the intrepid Tess. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
This one certainly goes far afield. Those who have been following newly minted private investigator Tess Monaghan will know that in a previous book she became close to Crow, who worked in her aunt Kitty's bookstore. Crow was the one who was always around but nobody noticed. Until they did. Six years younger than Tess, Crow seemed like a wrong choice at first. But the two clicked and things went along nicely until they didn't.

But now, it is later, and Tess gets an odd piece of mail. Which, in time, leads her to wonder about Crow's wellbeing. He had moved away, to Louisiana of all places, and Tess has not heard from him for a while. She thought it was all over, but she has some doubts.

Thus she follows his trail to Louisiana and becomes immersed in the story of a young woman who has been singing with Crow's band. And therein lies a tale. Or two. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I got so behind with my reviews and realized I fell down on keeping up with my reviews of Tess and her many adventures. This one is almost a five star read. I marked it down one star since I thought the whole why behind one of the villains doing this was a reach. And I mean a really big reach. It also doesn't make sense why this person involved Tess in this. I did love the fact the action takes Tess away from Maryland. It allows us to see how she does in another location. Tess is still fast on her feet and not willing to let things go even when she should. This book also brings a resolution to her relationship with her ex, Crow.

Tess is still smarting from being foolish and letting her ex Crow go. Though she thinks she has gotten better in the almost year apart they have experienced, she still has pangs. When she gets a cutout from a newspaper saying In Big Trouble, Tess wonders if Crow is alright. When she is asked by his parents to track him down and let them know if he is okay, Tess reluctantly takes the case.

Tess in Texas is funny at times. She misses Baltimore and feels a bit lost while in San Antonio trying to track down Crow. The characters Tess comes across are unique and interesting. I did have a hard time with her taking her dog though. Come on.

The mystery aspect of things kicks into high gear when Tess finds a dead body and all signs points to Crow as the murderer. With bodies dropping, things seem to be looping back to an old case of kidnapping and also a multiple murdering incident that still haunts some of the characters in this story.

I loved seeing Jackie and Tess's Aunt Kitty in this one (only briefly). We have Jackie settling in with her new life raising her adopted daughter. Kitty seems to be moving onto something long-term too which has Tess horrified (I loved who the new love interest is) and pretending it's not happening.

The writing was typical Lippman. I feel like I know Tess and even though I would have told Crow to pound sand after a while, I get why Tess keeps trying to save him.

The flow was pretty good, not too bad until almost the end where it felt like too many coincidences kept happening.

Moving the setting from Baltimore to San Antonio was interesting, but was happy to see Tess back in familiar surroundings in the next book. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I love this series. Lippman stays true to her characters. ( )
  RobertaLea | Jan 19, 2020 |
Another weak entry. Plot was OK, if preposterous, but some of the nuts and bolts writing is just weak which is depressing. Also I'm never really convinced by Tess's romantic notions and how they play out. It's all a bit sub-par and I've already ordered the next two in the series. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
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For the RCC'ers : Lisa Groves, Jane Gundell, Leslie Linthicum, Ellen Perelman. Guess what? Fin de siecle is here.
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A sign hangs next to the cradle of Texas liberty, reminding visitors that concealed firearms are not permitted on the grounds.
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First as a reporter and then as a PI, Tess Monaghan has learned how to survive and thrive on the streets of Baltimore. But a new case will force her to confront her own past, and a man she loved and lost. It starts when she gets a newspaper photograph of her old boyfriend with a tantalizing shard of headline attached: In Big Trouble. The answers lie far from Baltimore, deep in a world of good-time music, old-fashioned ambition, and rich people's games. For Tess must find out what happened to a man she thought she knew, to a woman who may have changed him forever, and to the victims of a killer who dances to a different-and deadly-drummer.

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