Book Review: Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman

Title: Butchers Hill
Series: Tess Monaghan #3
Author: Laura Lippman
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Published: 03/17/2009
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre(s): Contemporary Mystery


Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her shingle as a p.i.-for-hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe it's not the best address in Baltimore, but you gotta start somewhere, and Tess's greyhound Esskay has no trouble taking marathon naps anywhere there's a roof. Then in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalizing his car. Just out of prison, he says he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the "Butcher of Butchers Hill" at it again? Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers-that-be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.


Butchers Hill is the third in the Tess Monaghan series but the fourth I've read. I gave up trying to read them in order as it requires too much coordinating with two libraries to do so. I find Tess to be a complex character with simple needs. She seems to believe in doing the right thing but doesn't hesitate to lie to get what she wants—answers and results. She has a newly opened office and two new clients. Neither client was completely forthright with Tess but she perseveres. Both cases made for fascinating reading and the conclusion was completely unexpected.