Thursday, January 20, 2011

No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman

This Tess Monaghan novel is a book sale find. I seem to be on a newspaper kick. Just reviewed Morning Miracle about The Washington Post, and now this author, Laura Lippman, was a Baltimore Sun reporter before finding success as a novelist. Also, a reporter for a fictional Baltimore paper plays an important part on this story.

Tess is a private detective who lives with her boyfriend known as Crow. Tess is realistic and rational, but Crow has a soft side and thus he ends up befriending a black teenager named Lloyd Jupiter who pretty much lives on the street and gets by through minor scams. Tess thinks Crow is much too soft. She doesn't trust the kid, and she's right - Jupiter gets them into more trouble than they can handle.

It's the characters that interested me in this book; not so much the story. Not only are Tess and Crow and their relationship intriguing, the kid is fascinating. There is a young assistant U.S. attorney on the make but incompetent, an FBI agent trying to survive until retirement age, and a dim-bulb DEA agent who thinks with his fists. The two agents have both been caught in activities that got them in trouble with their agencies, and now they're up to something again, together this time.

Secrets run the storyline from beginning to end. People keeping secrets for a variety of reasons, understandable reasons both good and bad. It's a little complicated but not enough to put the reader off completely. It's worth the read just for the characters and their individual goals.

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