From the publisher: When successful Baltimore furrier Mark Rubin’s beautiful wife, Natalie, disappears with their three children, the police turn him away, noting that all evidence indicates she left willingly. And there’s no crime in walking out on an unhappy marriage. Private detective Tess Monaghan is his only hope, but Tess isn’t quite sure what she can do for Mark. She also doesn’t know what to make of her new client’s claim that he and Natalie were the model for wedded bliss. Tess’s instincts tell her there’s something off about Mark’s picture-perfect view of his marriage - - and that he’s withholding information from her. After Tess puts the word out to her network of fellow investigators around the country, she soon locates Natalie and the children. It appears they’ve been traveling from state to state in the company of a mysterious man - - a stranger described by witnesses as “handsome” and “charming” but otherwise unremarkable. As Tess investigates further, she becomes more convinced that Natalie’s motive for running away lies in the gap between what Rubin will not say and what he refuses to believe. But when murder strikes, Tess finds herself involved in an intricate web of betrayal and vengeance - - and now there’s more than one man’s stubborn pride in peril. The lives of three innocent children hang in the balance.
Having loved this author’s In a Strange City, published in May of 2016, I have been catching up on her other books that I’d not yet had a chance to read. This is the 8th of what is now 12 in the series, and it is every bit as good as its predecessor novels. Tess, now 33, is a former reporter and now private investigator. When Mark Rubin hires Tess, the first thing about him of which she becomes aware is that he is an observant Jew, Modern Orthodox, as opposed to Hasidic. Tess herself is half-Jewish – her mother’s name being Weinstein - and half Irish, and had “opted for being a nonobservant Jewish Catholic who believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny but can hang with the bitter-herb crowd at a seder.” As to Mark, after his father’s death, he became somewhat less observant, when his half-brother, Zeke, came into his and his mother’s lives. Tess sees reflections of herself in Natalie: “the way she saw it, a girl just couldn’t win. You either talked too much or too little. There was denial, that old river in Egypt.”
Tess’ long-time boyfriend, Crow, is not on the scene in this entry, and their relationship appears to be in some doubt. For company she has their greyhound, Esskay, and Miata,”the world’s most docile Doberman.” I loved the “Snoop Sisters,” Tess’ “virtual clan,” who give her “that rarest combination of friendly commiseration - - pure empathy and no advice.” Interesting tale, with just the right amount of suspense, and it is recommended. Looking forward to catching up with the others!...Continua