Book Review: Charm City – Laura Lippman

Title: Charm City: A Tess Monaghan Novel
Author: Laura Lippman
ISBN: 9780380788767
Pages: 304
Release Date: October 1, 1997
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Mystery, Audiobook
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary:

In the second book in the Tess Monaghan series, Tess is working as a private investigator in Baltimore.  When her Uncle Spike is badly beaten and left for dead, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.   She also finds work at the Baltimore newspaper, the Beacon-Light, trying to get to the bottom of a rogue story.

Review:

I enjoyed the first book in the Tess Monaghan series, Baltimore Blues, so I was eager to give Charm City a try.  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to the promise of the first.

Beth Fish Reads described Charm City as a sophomore slump, and I’m inclined to agree.  That’s not to say it was all bad – Tess is clearly starting to grow up and take control of her life.  She’s dependable and resourceful, and is clearly good at her job She’s learning how to get things done.  I loved that she was really getting over the hump we found her at in the beginning of Baltimore Blues.

However, the two mysteries didn’t really work for me.  I found the Beacon-Light story to be very interesting and it really kept me reading the book.  I thought it was complex and well-done, though it took some time to fully develop.  The Uncle Spike storyline took away from the rest of the book.  I thought it was confusing, and was puzzled by whether it would ultimately tie into the other case she was working on.  I didn’t think this two-case format for one book worked very well.

This was the first Tess Monaghan novel I listened to in audio, and I think the format worked very well for this book.  It was unabridged and ran about 9 and a half hours.  The narrator was Deborah Hazlett, but I can’t really say I cared for her.  Her voice was jarring to me, and didn’t sound like my vision of Tess at all.  Additionally, her voices for all the men sounded the same, and were all very silly.  It was difficult to take seriously when she was trying to perform men’s dialogue!  Still, since this series is so well suited to audio, I will probably continue this series in that format.

Comments

  1. Alas, after reading the first one (and some of Lippman’s standalones) I think I’m committed to this series, at least for awhile. Thanks for the heads-up (you’re not alone) that this one’s not the greatest, though.

  2. Alas, after reading the first one (and some of Lippman’s standalones) I think I’m committed to this series, at least for awhile. Thanks for the heads-up (you’re not alone) that this one’s not the greatest, though.

  3. I know only one reader usually reads on an audio book, but pretending to be a man when you’re reading is silly. Either get a man or read it straight. I’ve done some audio books with my children when they had a time limit to finish monster books like the largest Harry Potter books. But I think I’d tune out.

    I read one or two of Laura Lippman’s very first books, but haven’t tried her in 15 yrs. Maybe I’ll try her again, just not this series.

    Heather

  4. I know only one reader usually reads on an audio book, but pretending to be a man when you’re reading is silly. Either get a man or read it straight. I’ve done some audio books with my children when they had a time limit to finish monster books like the largest Harry Potter books. But I think I’d tune out.

    I read one or two of Laura Lippman’s very first books, but haven’t tried her in 15 yrs. Maybe I’ll try her again, just not this series.

    Heather

  5. Sorry to see it’s not as good as the first book. Hopefully she’ll get back on track with the third one.

  6. Sorry to see it’s not as good as the first book. Hopefully she’ll get back on track with the third one.

  7. I haven’t tried the next one yet, but I am going to give it a shot.

  8. I haven’t tried the next one yet, but I am going to give it a shot.

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