From the award-winning Laura Lippman (winner of the Anthony, Agatha, Edgar and Shamus awards) comes the seventh gripping Tess Monaghan mystery
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August 26, 2003
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Excerpt from The Last Place by Laura Lippman
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Tess Monaghan was sitting outside a bar in the Baltimore suburbs. It was early spring, the mating season, and this bland but busy franchise was proof that birds do it, bees do it, even Baltimore County yuppies in golf pants and Top-Siders do it.
"Kind of a benign hangout for a child molester," Tess said to Whitney Talbot, her oldest friend, her college roomie, her literal partner in crime on a few occasions. "Although it is convenient to several area high schools, as well as Towson University and Goucher."
"Possible child molester," Whitney corrected from the driver's seat of the Suburban. Whitney's vehicles only seemed to get bigger over the years, no matter what the price of gas was doing. "We don't have proof that he knew how young Mercy was when this started. Besides, she's sixteen, Tess. You were having sex at sixteen."
"Yeah, with other sixteen-year-olds. But if he came after your cousin ' "
"Second cousin, once removed."
"My guess is he's done it before. And will do it again. Your family solved the Mercy problem. But how do we keep him from becoming some other family's problem Not everyone can pack their daughters off to expensive boarding schools, you know."
"They can't " But Whitney's raised eyebrow made it clear that she was mocking her family and its money.
The two friends stared morosely through the windshield, stumped by the stubborn deviancy of men. They had saved one girl from this pervert's clutches. But the world had such a large supply of girls, and an even larger supply of perverts. The least they could do was reduce the pervert population by one. But how If Tess knew anything of compulsive behavior ' and she knew quite a bit ' it was that most people didn't stop, short of a cataclysmic intervention. A heart attack for a smoker, the end of a marriage for a drinker.