Title: The Last Place
Author: Laura Lippman
Release Date: August 26, 2003
Publisher: Avon (Print) / Recorded Books (Audio)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Audiobook
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Tess Monaghan is back, and this time she’s investigating five unsolved homicides, seemingly unrelated except for the fact that they all involved domestic violence. Tess is also having some personal and legal difficulties after getting too involved in a case, and is now in court-mandated anger management therapy. But as Tess begins digging into these domestic violence cases, she begins to realize that they may not be as unconnected as she initially thought.
The Last Place is the seventh novel in the Tess Monaghan series, and it deals with those who prey on the vulnerable, whether they are teenagers, women, or men. Tess is very passionate about this issue and has a strong protective instinct. It’s very interesting to bear witness to her sessions with her therapist; though, at the beginning, readers might feel like Tess has no issues, he does raise some interesting points. The therapist makes Tess reevaluate herself and what she thought she knew.
Though most of the Tess Monaghan novels function relatively well as standalones, with the exception of missing out on character development, The Last Place does not. It relies heavily on events from the first novel in the series, Baltimore Blues. As a result, a newcomer to this series might be very perplexed by the constant reference to that book in this one. Indeed, I have read Baltimore Blues and still was confused at times; it’s been long enough since I’ve read it that the plot details are fuzzy in my memory.
The mystery in The Last Place is very interesting. Admittedly, parts of it are a bit convenient, but if you can suspend that sense of disbelief, it’s very gripping. I listened to the novel on audio. It is unabridged, and runs about 13 hours. The narrator is Barbara Rosenblatt, and I have to say, I’ve really adjusted to her as Tess’s voice. It took some time, but I think she does a marvelous job with the installments of this series she’s narrated.
Overall, The Last Place was very interesting. It was a much more reflective book than previous novels in the series, but that is a good thing because it’s clear Tess is really growing and changing as a person. I’m constantly impressed by Laura Lippman’s ingenuity and creativity with this series. It’s always reinventing itself, delivering surprises around every turn. I can say with confidence that the Tess Monaghan series is one of the best currently being written, especially in this genre. If you haven’t gotten to know Tess, I highly recommend seeking her out. Trust me, you’ll be hooked.
Other books by Laura Lippman:
Baltimore Blues – Laura Lippman
Butchers Hill – Laura Lippman
Charm City – Laura Lippman
I’d Know You Anywhere – Laura Lippman
In a Strange City – Laura Lippman
Life Sentences – Laura Lippman
The Most Dangerous Thing – Laura Lippman
The Sugar House – Laura Lippman