Laura Lippman! Hush Hush is newly released - and was quickly devoured by this Lippman fan.
Lippman has written several stand alones in the last few years, but her iconic private investigator Tess is back in the 12th entry in this series - the first since 2008's Girl in the Green Raincoat. Lippman has given us tantalizing glimpses into Tess's life through that last book and a cameo or two in her recent standalones. I was eager to catch up with what's been going on in Tess's life - and follow along with another great mystery.
She and partner Crow are the now the parents of three year old Carla Scout. The trials and tribulations of being working parents and the day to day life of a young family are detailed in the personal storyline of Hush Hush. But motherhood and parenthood are also at the heart of the crime of Hush Hush. (And fact mirrors truth in Hush Hush - Lippman is also parent to a young daughter, giving her narrative added depth and insight).
Ten years ago, Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of insanity after she let her two month old daughter die in a hot car - as she sat under a shade tree nearby. Having now been pronounced 'fit', she has returned to Baltimore to reconnect with her two older daughters. But she has chosen to make a documentary of her 'return' - ostensibly to help others recognize the dangers of postpartum depression. Although her premise is noble, her intentions may not be. Tess is hired by her lawyer to provide security analysis and support for this venture.
Favourite characters return (Crow and Kitty) and new ones are added - I remember wishing Sandy would make further appearances and he has - as Tess's new work partner. Carla Scout's personality and dialogue had me chuckling out loud. Tess's view of the world has changed with the arrival of her child - I very much enjoyed and appreciated Lippman's portrayal of parenthood. All sides are explored - good and bad. "What a thin line separates good parents from bad parents."The antagonist of Hush Hush is just as well drawn - but she is so unlikable that it's hard to feel sympathy for her in spite of her past.
"The rage she felt at that moment- it was like nothing she had ever known. It wasn't madness, which was the term Melisandre had always preferred for her illness. Unfashionable and imprecise as it was, madness seemed right to her. There had been something vicious inside her, something apart from her, all those years ago."
Hush Hush is told from more than one viewpoint - Tess, Melisandre, her daughters, the transcripts of the film maker and others- giving the reader much more information than Tess is working with. I had my suspicions nearing the end, but Lippman kept me guessing most of the way.
Lippman is a Baltimore native - her descriptions of time and place are so very real.
Hush Hush is another fantastic novel from Laura Lippman - again reminding me why she is one of my favourite crime novelists. Haven't read Lippman yet? (Seriously?!) There's a great new interactive website called Tess is Back that will let you see the settings, meet the characters, listen to excerpts and enter to win e-books and audiobooks! You can start now - read an excerpt of Hush Hush.
Laura Lippman has been awarded every major prize in crime fiction. The recipient of the first Mayor’s Prize, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, David Simon, and their family. Connect with Laura on her website, Facebook, or on Twitter.
See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.