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Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel.

crime

FICTION

***1/2

Hush Hush

A Tess Monaghan Novel

By Laura Lippman

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Hush Hush is Lippman's fist novel featuring scrappy Baltimore PI Tell Monaghan since Another Thing to Fall (***1/2 July/Aug 2008) and the novella The Girl in the Green Raincoat (2011). In 11 previous Monaghan books and 8 stand-alone novels, Lippman has become a master of domestic suspense.

THE STORY: Over the last few years, Tess Monaghan experienced some major life changes: she became a mother to a now-wild little toddler, intensified her relationship to her boyfriend, and partnered with ex-homicide detective Sandy Sanchez (from 2012's After Pm Gone) with parenting trouble of his own. A new case causes Tess to reflect on the new order of things. When, 12 years ago, successful lawyer Melisandre Harris Dawes left her infant daughter in a locked car, she was acquitted of her death on the grounds of postpartum psychosis. Melisandre moved abroad, leaving custody of her surviving two children to her estranged husband. But then she returns to Baltimore to film a reunion with her now-teenage daughters for a documentary about her infamous case. Tess, tasked with assessing Melisandre's security needs, is clearly ambivalent about the job. And for good reason.

William Morrow. 320 pages. $26.99. ISBN: 9780062083425

ABC News ****

"Hush Hush marks a most welcome return to Tess following a three-year absence, proving the novelist's capacity for involving storytelling knows no limits. Parenthood--specifically motherhood, but also fatherhood--imbues the emotional plot of Hush Hush and makes this one of Lippman's finest novels" oline h. cogdill

Boston Globe ****

"Suspenseful and tightly-plotted mystery aside, Lippman brings her characters to vivid life whether you see them in passing--the handsome cop who 'had a few acne scars, but they only made him more attractive, the way a flaw can, sometimes'--or catch a deeper glimpse of their story. ... In this novel that's as much about mothers, daughters, and family dynamics as it is about who done what, when, and why, it's [a] bewildered but insightful teen whose voice is the most insistent--and the most riveting." DANEET STEFFENS

NY Times Book Review ****

"[A] tough-minded but wonderfully entertaining book that might be called a parenting mystery. ... [Lippman's] character studies, largely drawn from the way people feel about having children, are exceptional." MARILYN STASIO

Los Angeles Times ***1/2

"[Too] many asides and digressions hinder the novel's pacing, while not all of the back story will be understandable to those who haven't read previous books in the series. Nonetheless, Lippmann's trademark ability to dig beneath the surface of family life, no matter how twisted, is in fine form, which will cause her fans to raise their Natty Boh's in salute to return of the redoubtable Tess Monaghan, her growing family and everloyal friends." PAULA L. WOODS

Washington Post ***

"Unfortunately, by universalizing the parental breast-beating, Hush Hush moves into the murky territory of moral relativism. ... Hush Hush is great fun to read for the introduction of Carla Scout, the new incarnation of working mom Tess, and for its lively suspense, but the pabulum it serves up about parenthood should have been left off the plate." MAUREEN CORRIGAN

CRITICAL SUMMARY

Hush Hush asks compelling, never predictably answered, questions about individual choices, expectations and responsibilities of parenthood, and ... what it means to be just a little bit crazy. As important to Lippman as plot is character, and her fiction--from her Monaghan series to her standalone novels--revels in ferreting out characters' motivations, secrets, and behavioral norms. Hush Hush is no different in its deep exploration of mothers, fathers, daughters, and family dynamics, as well as how motherhood transforms women, for better or for worse. Told through multiple perspectives, including transcripts of the documentary, the novel offers the finest caliber of storytelling. A few false notes in the theme of parental guilt left some critics scratching their heads, but overall, Hush Hush "superbly continues Lippman's stories about contemporary life" (ABC News).

RATINGS

***** CLASSIC A timeless book to be read by all

**** EXCELLENT One of the best of its genre

*** GOOD Enjoyable, particularly for fans of the genre

** FAIR Some problems, approach with caution

* POOR Not worth your time
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Publication:Bookmarks
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2015
Words:690
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