Title: Butcher’s Hil
Author: Laura Lippman
Release Date: August 31, 2007
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Tess Monaghan has finally set herself up as a private investigator and is now open for business. She has an office in the Butchers Hill area of Baltimore, a run down part of town that is the best Tess can afford. Her first client is the Butcher of Butchers Hill (as the newspapers called him), a man who killed a teenage boy when the boy was vandalizing his car.
I enjoyed the introduction of Tess Monaghan in Baltimore Blues, and though I found Charm City a little disappointing, I was eager to read the third installment of the series, Butchers Hill, to see what Tess Monaghan was up to next.
I was surprised to find that I enjoyed Butchers Hill very much; it might even be the best in the series so far. Lippman once again uses the two-mysteries-in-one-book approach that didn’t work so well for me in Charm City, but for some reason, this novel flowed much better. Both stories were equally interesting and captivated my attention. Lippman took care with her characters – the reader never knew what to make of them and it was really enjoyable watching Tess try to solve the mysteries they hired her for, but also to watch her dissect them and figure out whether to trust them or not.
While there’s not a ton of character development in this book for Tess, when thinking about Baltimore Blues, it’s clear that she has come a very long way. Lippman builds Tess’s character so softly and deftly that it’s hard to point to singular instances of character development, yet it’s clear she does grow over the course of the books. It’s very well done.
I listened to Butchers Hill on audio, and I did enjoy the production. The narrator is Deborah Hazlett, who I didn’t love in Charm City, but she appealed to me much more in this book. I quite enjoyed her narration, and her voice really is becoming Tess’s for me. The audio production is unabridged and lasts almost 9 hours.
I thoroughly enjoyed Butcher’s Hill, which was a relief since I didn’t love Charm City. I’m glad Tess is back on track, and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.