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As a practiced reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, P.I. Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore, even the parts being slobbered on by the sad-sack greyhound she's minding for her uncle. It's a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon "Wink" Wynkowski is trying to change all that by bringing pro basketball back to town, and everybody's rooting for him -- until a devastating, muckraking expose of his lurid past appears on the front page of the Baltimore Beacon-Light. It's a surprise even to the Blight's editors, who thought they'd killed the piece. Instead, the piece killed Wink -- who's found in his garage with the car running.

Now the Blight wants to nail the unknown computer hacker who planted the lethal story, and the assignment is right up the alley of a former newshound like Tess. But it doesn't take long for her to discover deeper, darker secrets, and to realize that this situation is really more about whacking than hacking. It's just murder in Baltimore these days -- and Tess Monaghan herself might be next on the list.

Topics: Series, Private Investigators, Women Detectives, Journalists, Hackers, Basketball, Undercover Agents, Murder, Dogs, Baltimore, Maryland, Suspenseful, and Touching

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061808531
List price: $10.99
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Tess is working freelance for a newspaper while her uncle is in a coma in the hospital. She is given his dog to take care of and this leads her into the investigation of what happened to Spike and why does he have this poor, undernourished, aging greyhound. I found this case more interesting than the investigation of the reporter, her sources, and background. Also, having read the Tess Monahan series out of order, I enjoyed learning about her early relationship with Crow.more
Like the first book in this series, *Charm City* is tautly written, tightly plotted, and filled with quirky, colorful characters, and set in lovingly rendered 1990s Baltimore's unique combination of seediness and excess. Tess's character seemed to emerge more fully in this novel. In Baltimore Blues, the first book in the series, she seemed somewhat stilted, the product of some kind of genre formula for creating interesting lead character. In this novel, she seems more like a real person, one you can care about, and care to follow as she explores the mysteries of the human heart -- the true subject of noir fiction. On the whole, this was a very enjoyable if still somewhat formulaic book. But it suggests that there is potentially much better to hope for from the the series. I intend to keep reading it.more
I enjoyed the second book in the series as well a I did the first one a couple of months ago. I love it when I find a new mystery series. There are actually two mysteries involved in this story and I suspected that they would dovetail before the end. I was right about that, but wrong in the way it would happen. There were also two villains and I suspected one of them early—but it was for the wrong crime! The second one I was really late in honing in on—because I already had a villain picked out for his crime. Can you tell I had a ball with this one? We learn a lot more about Tess and her character is becoming more fully developed. It looks like this series will hold my interest for a while and I'm looking forward to the next one. I love coming to a series “late” because I don't have to wait so long for the next installment.more
When I read a Laura Lippman book, I can't help but smile and think of my best friend, who lives in Baltimore. I love how familiar she is with the city and how she lays it out there in the books. This one also showed her roots as a reporter.But while I did grow to like Tess a little bit more in this second installment of the series, I still don't really "care" for her. It's almost like Tess' kooky family is an attempt to mirror the crazy relatives in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and Tess herself is kind of like less likeable Stephanie Plum.I'm not sure if I am going to continue on with this series or not...we'll have to wait & see!more
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Reviews

Tess is working freelance for a newspaper while her uncle is in a coma in the hospital. She is given his dog to take care of and this leads her into the investigation of what happened to Spike and why does he have this poor, undernourished, aging greyhound. I found this case more interesting than the investigation of the reporter, her sources, and background. Also, having read the Tess Monahan series out of order, I enjoyed learning about her early relationship with Crow.more
Like the first book in this series, *Charm City* is tautly written, tightly plotted, and filled with quirky, colorful characters, and set in lovingly rendered 1990s Baltimore's unique combination of seediness and excess. Tess's character seemed to emerge more fully in this novel. In Baltimore Blues, the first book in the series, she seemed somewhat stilted, the product of some kind of genre formula for creating interesting lead character. In this novel, she seems more like a real person, one you can care about, and care to follow as she explores the mysteries of the human heart -- the true subject of noir fiction. On the whole, this was a very enjoyable if still somewhat formulaic book. But it suggests that there is potentially much better to hope for from the the series. I intend to keep reading it.more
I enjoyed the second book in the series as well a I did the first one a couple of months ago. I love it when I find a new mystery series. There are actually two mysteries involved in this story and I suspected that they would dovetail before the end. I was right about that, but wrong in the way it would happen. There were also two villains and I suspected one of them early—but it was for the wrong crime! The second one I was really late in honing in on—because I already had a villain picked out for his crime. Can you tell I had a ball with this one? We learn a lot more about Tess and her character is becoming more fully developed. It looks like this series will hold my interest for a while and I'm looking forward to the next one. I love coming to a series “late” because I don't have to wait so long for the next installment.more
When I read a Laura Lippman book, I can't help but smile and think of my best friend, who lives in Baltimore. I love how familiar she is with the city and how she lays it out there in the books. This one also showed her roots as a reporter.But while I did grow to like Tess a little bit more in this second installment of the series, I still don't really "care" for her. It's almost like Tess' kooky family is an attempt to mirror the crazy relatives in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and Tess herself is kind of like less likeable Stephanie Plum.I'm not sure if I am going to continue on with this series or not...we'll have to wait & see!more
In Book Two of the Tess Monaghan Detective Series, we find the 5’9” twenty-nine year old working as an investigator for her rowing friend/lawyer, Tyner Gray. The series is set in Baltimore, known [in real life] as "Charm City" since 1974 when the Baltimore Promotion Council decided to enhance the city's image by declaring this new nickname. But sometimes, as Tess discovers, it isn't all that charming.Gray lets Tess take a short leave to work on two side matters that have arisen. The first is that someone has beaten her Uncle Spike within an inch of his life; he is now in a coma. She wants to uncover what happened to him and why. Moreover, for however long he is in the hospital, she has custody of his newly acquired ratty-looking greyhound. Second, she was awarded a contract job by the Beacon-Light newspaper to determine how a feature got printed on the front page that was not yet vetted or approved. The story impugned the reputation of Gerard “Wink” Wynkowski, who was trying to bring a basketball team back to Baltimore.Tess is unexpectedly attracted to Jack Sterling, the Deputy Managing Editor of the newspaper, although her twenty-three year old boyfriend, Crow, is living with her now. She breaks up with Crow right before their sixth-month anniversary so she can pursue the surge of electricity she felt upon meeting Sterling.Even while dallying with Jack, Tess continues to work on the two side cases, and pretty soon, she has all kinds of nefarious sorts trying to kill her.Evaluation: This second installment of the Tess Monaghan series won the Edgar and Shamus awards for mysteries. I love the Baltimore setting and the characters are quite likeable. The “whodunit” portions remained mysterious to me until the author clued me in, which I always appreciate in a mystery. I'll keep going with the series!more
A pleasant mystery told my an appealing protagonist. Not an exercise fanatic like Kinsey and others. I particularly enjoyed many local references: the characters enjoy eating at a Roy Rogers restaurant, which provided my first job over 40 years ago; some characters attended a high school where several of my friends went. The timing of the revelation of clues was not fabulous, but made sense in terms of the story.more
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