Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Charm City by Laura Lippman

This is the second installment in Lippman's Tess Monaghan series. I listened to it on audiobook. The reader was very good, Debra Hazlett.

In this novel, Tess is hired to find out who snuck a controversial story into the Boston newspaper when it wasn't supposed to be printed. A parallel plot dealing with Tess's Uncle Spike also takes place. The two really have no connection outside of Tess looking into them.

I had my worries about this book at the beginning. Tess was an anti-dog person, but by the end she was in love with her new greyhound friend, Esskey.

I found the plot to be just o.k. It was an enjoyable book to listen to, but nothing really grabbed me and made we NEED to find out what happens next. I think a lot of that may have to do with my lack of connection with Tess. She came across as flat. The irony wasn't lost on me when Tess, the one who harped on Crow's age, turned out to be the more adolescent of the two when it came to emotional connection. So at least she exhibited some human growth.

The conclusion left me saying, "Really? Come on! That was a bit disappointing." So, no, I didn't see it coming, but I had trouble buying it, too. I won't elaborate here so as to avoid spoilers. I actually was more interested in the subplot dealing with Spike, and that plot ended up being rather insignificant with a quiet end. I almost think the plots needed to be their own books with each one elaborated a bit more.

I loved the characters of Whitney - the shotgun wielding reporter friend - and Tommy, the rather exotic partner of Spike's. Crow was also a rather dynamic character who didn't fit neatly into any stereotypes. But Esskey stole the show for me.


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