Picks and Pans Review: Murder on Location

updated 03/24/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/24/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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.

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