Another Thing to Fall
By Laura Lippman
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061128875, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 11, 2008
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The California dream weavers have invaded Charm City with their cameras, their stars, and their controversy. . . .
When private investigator Tess Monaghan literally runs into the crew of the fledgling TV series Mann of Steel while sculling, she expects sharp words and evil looks, not an assignment. But the company has been plagued by a series of disturbing incidents since its arrival on location in Baltimore: bad press, union threats, and small, costly on-set "accidents" that have wreaked havoc with its shooting schedule. As a result, Mann's creator, Flip Tumulty, the son of a Hollywood legend, is worried for the safety of his young female lead, Selene Waites, and asks Tess to serve as her bodyguard/babysitter. Tumulty's concern may be well founded. Not long ago a Baltimore man was discovered dead in his own home, surrounded by photos of the beautiful, difficult superstar-in-the-making.
In the past, Tess has had enough trouble guarding her own body. Keeping a spoiled movie princess under wraps may be more than she can handle--even with the help of Tess's icily unflappable friend Whitney--since Selene is not as naive as everyone seems to think, and far more devious than she initially appears to be. This is not Tess's world. And these are not her kind of people, with their vanities, their self-serving agendas and invented personas, and their remarkably skewed visions of reality--from the series' aging, shallow, former pretty-boy leading man to its resentful, always-on-the-make cowriter to the officious young assistant who may be too hungry for her own good.
But the fish-out-of-water P.I. is abruptly pulled back in by an occurrence she's all too familiar with--murder. Suddenly the wall of secrets around Mann of Steel is in danger of toppling, leaving shattered dreams, careers, and lives scattered among the ruins--a catastrophe that threatens the people Tess cares about . . . and the city she loves.
“A juicy whodunit.”
Like lunch at Atwater’s, Tess’s latest leaves you fully satisfied but looking forward to next time
“Lippman is incapable of writing an un-compelling mystery,”
You get everything in this book. There’s a really good mystery which is almost secondary to the interaction of the characters - Hollywood’s penchant for confusing illusion and reality is beautifully done - and the witty dialogue, full of smart film references, is totally believable.
-Toronto Globe and Mail
“Tess--funny, smart, empathetic as hell, and a colorful, irreverent storyteller makes a wonderful companion for this tale, in which disturbing vandalism and a stalker are just the harbingers of much worse problems,”
[a] welcome addition to Tess Monaghan’s adventures and an insightful look at the desperation that drives those grasping for a shot at fame and those who will do anything to keep it.
-San Francisco Chronicle
“After last year’s acclaimed What the Dead Know, Lippman is back on home turf with the 10th installment of her popular series about Baltimore P.I. Tess Monaghan.”