Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TLC BLOG TOUR: Baltimore Blues (Tess Monoghan #1) by Laura Lippman

Title: Baltimore Blues
Author: Laura Lippman
Genre: Detective Mystery Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: October 13/2009
Acquired: Print copy sent by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Until her paper, the Baltimore Star, crashed and burned, Tess Monaghan was a damn good reporter who knew her hometown intimately -- from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill. Now gainfully unemployed at twenty-nine, she's willing to take any freelance job to pay the rent -- including a bit of unorthodox snooping for her rowing buddy, Darryl "Rock" Paxton.

In a city where someone is murdered almost everyday, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety -- and his noontime trysts with Rock's fiancee -- make the case front page news...and points to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend's innocence could prove costly to Tess -- and add her name to that infamous ever-growing list.


I am usually consistent in my appreciation for books by authors who inject real life experience into their work, and in the case of Baltimore Blues, Laura Lippman is actually a reporter for a Baltimore newspaper. However, that fact ended up coming across as way too technical on the page. I felt swamped with technical lingo, and at times, like I was reading a non-fiction book. Albeit detective mysteries are more enjoyable if actual police/law procedure is followed, this novel was just WAY too realistic for my tastes.

Tess Monoghan is down on her luck and scrambling for work, so when a good friend offers her a chance to make some easy cash, she's all too happy to oblige. Darryl "Rock" Paxton is not only a friend, but a trusted fellow rowing partner. He's pushed Tess to her limits, and proven just how far he'll work to push his own. Rock has recently suspected his wife, Ava, of some questionable activity, and asks Tess, a former reporter, to track Ava's moves. Tess takes on this seemingly innocent job, and soon finds herself front and center in a murder case involving one dead famous attorney Michael Arbramowitz. A case that not only involves Rock's wife Ava, but pins Rock himself as the number one suspect.

I had an extremely difficult time getting myself to feel for any one character in this book. Every single one was diverse in nature, which made for some quirky dialogue, and easy entertainment, but there was little to hold on to otherwise. I honestly couldn't be bothered with the outcome of the story, who the real culprit was, or why Tess seemed to be such a hard-ass. The narrative was so completely overshadowed by technical explanations of the inner workings of newspapers, and media scoundrels, and not to mention, entirely tedious passages about rowing. To each their own I say, and to many, this may very well be the book they love to re-read over and over again, however, I was barely able to get through it once.

I have heard good things about some of Laura Lippman's stand-alone work, and am willing to give those a try in the near future.

Recommended for Fans of: Mystery, Thriller, Detective Fiction, Sophie Hannah.


Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller.

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to William Morrow for sending me a print copy to review! CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

  2. First of all...love your design. Nice blog.

    I haven't read this book, but I read HUSH, HUSH by Laura Lippman and was a bit disappointed. Her books are usually so gripping and good.

    Thanks for your review.

    Giveaways going on at my blog if you want to stop.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth! I like changing the design with the seasons =).

      Oh man, I'm sad to hear that the Tess Monoghan series doesn't get any better in HUSH HUSH. I definitely need to check out one of her standalone books. Thank you so much for you kind words, and for stopping by my blog. I will definitely go check out your giveaway!


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