I honestly don’t have much to say here except that I really enjoyed this updated look at Tess’s life. She is still suffering some aftershocks after the events in the last book. Having to kill someone or she would be killed left a hole in her. She and her boyfriend are living apart since she feels like he is trying to “fix” her and keep her safe. She is back to rowing and doing investigations again. Her uncle brings her a new client who is trying to track down his wife and three children. He doesn’t understand why she left and the police won’t help him. When Tess starts digging deeper she figures out there are half-truths going on and a whole lot of lying. When she finally starts pulling things apart she figures out a long-standing conspiracy.
Tess was great to me in this one. She still has her two dogs and her family and her favorite aunt. Though she is a bit lonely without Crow around, she’s making due. Lippman references a few times how the last case shook Tess’s confidence. She doesn’t know if she can be strong again, but we get to see her do just that a bunch of times throughout the story. I also think that Tess’s cynicism was softened a bit in this one, but she’s still no one’s fool. Via Tess, Lippman always does a great job breaking down the history of the places that Tess is traveling to.
We get introduced to a couple of new secondary characters in this one. We have Mark Rubin that has hired Tess to find his wife and children. I honestly didn’t know what to make of him earlier on, but really liked that Lippman had things leaning one way until we get some shocking reveals here and there. Lippman also switches the POV’s to Mark Rubin’s wife Natalie, Rubin’s son, and a mysterious man that has an unending hatred for Mark for some reason.
We also get some familiar characters in this one, Tess’s best friend Whitney, her aunt, and her aunt’s long-time boyfriend too.
I thought the writing was very good and that Lippman incorporated some more background on Orthodox Judaism which gave the book a different feel than prior ones. Rubin’s religion definitely plays into what is going on or what he chose to not see.
The flow was a bit off after a while though. I think once we realize as readers what is going on you may start to feel a bit impatient for things to get moving.
The setting of Baltimore per usual seems to always have a presence in these books. We do have Tess traveling back and forth in this one, but for once the book stays centered in Maryland though Rubin’s wife travels back and forth across multiple states.
The ending was really good and I didn’t see the twist coming. I loved the epilogue and that we do see a hint of Tess’s older cynicism rearing it’s head.