Lippman delivers the goods on her villains, making them hard as nails and arranging it so they have an assortment of weapons to throw onto Tess in an effort to get her to knuckle under to their demands.
The decision to separate Crow and Tess for most of the book’s action was an interesting one, but it pays off. While Tess wrangles with the official pressure and Crow is off gallivanting around staying hidden, he also steps up to be something of a surrogate father for Lloyd. I found Crow’s choice of reading and viewing matter extremely interesting as well. Evidently Crow and I (and doubtless Laura Lippman) treasure books and movies by the same people. Some of Crow’s favorites are also my favorites. Read closely and you may find some of yours.
After reading No Good Deeds, I realized that what I was reading wasn’t truly a mystery story. Lippman is so good at building characters and crafting a plot that the book feels like a introduction to two different but equally good characters.
The dialogue is good. There’s a lot of it and it does more work than just advance the plot. People talk and exchange plot points and information, but it adds layers to the characters and to the Baltimore world on stage.
The plot is somewhat reminiscent of Robert B. Parker’s Early Autumn, but that’s more a tip of the hat than anything else. Parker’s book is one of those that get mentioned during the course of the novel.
In addition to the Tess Monaghan series, Laura Lippman is — like so many of the current mystery series authors out there — writing stand-alone suspense thrillers. They are generating a lot of good reviews from critics as well as casual readers. I’ll be picking those books up as well because I’m convinced I’ve found a new favorite author. The lady can write. She knows her way around plots and characters. No Good Deeds is a great read that will keep you entertained from beginning to end whether you’re a regular mystery fan or in for a suspense read.