After listening to NPR's Crime in the City Series I decided to check out a Tess Monaghan story, written by Laura Lippman. I picked In Big Troublearbitrarily, not realizing that this is one story that does not take place in Balitmore, even though the Monaghan series is usually set in "Charm City". It didn't matter though, San Antonio was a great location and the same type of attention that Lippman probably gives to Baltimore in her other books was lavished on Texas with great affect. The mystery itself was good, especially the way a 20-year-old unsolved murder case was woven into the plot. I almost felt the murders were true, so well was the plot line developed.
Tess was also a great protagonist; honestly I wasn't sure how a woman my age could possibly fit my vision of a hard-boiled detective, but Lippman successfully did just that, giving Tess just the right amount of humility, warmth, longing, and cyniscm.
The only criticism I have of this book is that in the end the story's conclusion was a little too neatly wrapped up, with seemingly incidental characters playing major roles. I felt that either they should have been developed more so that the reader could have a chance to factor them into the mystery or that the final answers should have involved some unknown players; everyone just seemed to fit too well into the storyline, if that makes sense.
I can't wait to review more of Lippman's books on Crime Beat Street!