Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.
I picked up this book while I was reading great book after great book by women authors, and this one kept up the great reading streak. I’ve read over half of Lippman’s books, starting with the Tess Monaghan PI series and a few of her standalones, and I like the standalones especially. This particular novel deals with the disappearance of Felix Brewer, a gangster about to enter prison for mail fraud in 1976. He leaves behind his wife and three daughters as well as his mistress of a few years. Ten years after his disappearance, his mistress Julie goes missing, and several years after her disappearance, her remains are found in a large park in Baltimore. Sandy Sanchez, a retired homicide detective now working as a police consultant investigating cold cases, begins the investigation into the death of Julie.
First of all, this is a crime novel more in the vein of “a novel where a crime occurs,” than any sort of crime novel formula novel. Lippman spends more time building the world of Jewish mobsters in Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s as well as the lives of the women Felix left behind than she does on the investigation itself. It’s a fascinating story, and, most importantly, the story feels lived in. Lippman is so good at what she does. The characters are sympathetic, even Felix, and that’s no small feat as well.
Some writers are must buys for me, and Lippman is a long-standing member of my list. Highly recommended.