ANOTHER THING TO FALL
by Laura Lippman |

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REVIEWED BY NATALIE DANFORD

CRITIC'S CHOICE

MYSTERY

After last year's acclaimed What the Dead Know, Lippman is back on home turf with the 10th installment of her popular series about Baltimore P.I. Tess Monaghan. Fans will find the feisty, sarcastic Tess in fine form: Hired as a bodyguard for the vapid 20-year-old star of an equally vapid cable TV series, Mann of Steel (about a time-traveling steel worker), she ends up investigating a murder after a body turns up in a production office. As always, Lippman serves up snappy repartee and a plot that keeps the pages turning. Her TV-land details are pitch-perfect too (the young star subsists on Red Bull and vodka). She comes across as an insider, no doubt because she's got one at home: Husband David Simon coproduces HBO's Baltimore police drama The Wire. But her gift for creating nuanced characters is all her own. Another Thing doesn't have the complexity or literary heft of What the Dead Know, but it's more psychologically sophisticated than the average mystery—and as much fun as indulging in a late-night marathon of your favorite show.

by David Levien |

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REVIEWED BY ANDREW ABRAHAMS

NOVEL

A quaint suburban tableau—a boy pedaling his bicycle at dawn on his paper route outside Indianapolis—is shattered when Jamie Gabriel, 12, disappears at the hands of two local lowlifes. His parents enlist the help of Frank Behr, a hard-bitten ex-cop turned private eye whose own child died at age 7 in a gun accident, and the two fathers bond as they untangle a sordid web of child trafficking in search of Jamie. Levien, a cowriter of the Ocean's Thirteen screenplay, keeps the pace crisp even as he infuses his gumshoe tale with heart-wrenching emotion—like the pain and regret that threaten to drive Jamie's parents apart. The grisly ending feels less authentic than everything before it, but getting there is an exhilarating journey of hope amid unimaginable despair.

by C. Vivian Stringer with Laura Tucker |

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REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT

MEMOIR

Long before the Rutgers women's basketball team came to the unfortunate attention of Don Imus (whose slurs against them cost him his job), their coach knew about strength in the face of adversity. A coal miner's daughter, Stringer led three schools to the Final Four, a feat accomplished despite intense family strife—her daughter's near-fatal illness, her husband's death, her own cancer. Her rich, moving story shows how women's sports have come of age: For 11 years, Stringer worked without pay; her starting salary at Rutgers exceeded the football coach's. She's worth it.

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