Sometimes going out of your way to help someone can land you in a heap of trouble. Private investigator Tess Monaghan and her boyfriend, Crow, learn this lesson in spades in Lippman's outstanding new installment.

It all starts when Crow returns to his vehicle after making a food delivery to one of Baltimore's soup kitchens. He has a flat, and when Lloyd, a street kid, offers to help fix it, Crow suspects the tire's demise was no accident. Instead of chasing off the kid, Crow brings him home and gives him a place to stay on a cold, snowy night.

During the evening, the unsolved murder of Gregory Youssef, a federal prosecutor who was killed several months earlier, comes up. From the way Lloyd reacts to the victim's name, Tess realizes he knows something about the crime. In short order, Tess is on the radar of federal investigators, and Crow and Lloyd are on the run.

Lippman's talent shines brilliantly once again. Unexpected plot twists, excellent characters and a strong sense of place are perfectly balanced in this gripping, satisfying read. (Jul., 352 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jo Peters