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The award-winning New York Times bestselling author of After I’m Gone, The Most Dangerous Thing, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know brings back private detective Tess Monaghan, introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues, in an absorbing mystery that plunges the new parent into a disturbing case involving murder and a manipulative mother.

On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband and her two surviving children, determined to start over.

But now Melisandre has returned Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and wants to film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex, now remarried, isn’t sure he approves.

Now that’s she’s a mother herself—short on time, patience—Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray, Melisandre’s lawyer, has asked Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore P.D. homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, to assess Melisandre’s security needs.

As a former reporter and private investigator, Tess tries to understand why other people break the rules and the law. Yet the imperious Melisandre is something far different from anyone she’s encountered. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to ignore the discomfort she feels around the confident, manipulative Melisandre. But that gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder.

Yet as her suspicions deepen, Tess realizes that just as she’s been scrutinizing Melisandre, a judgmental stalker has been watching her every move as well. . . .


First published February 1, 2015

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About the author

Laura Lippman

163 books5,420 followers
Since Laura Lippman’s debut, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the “essential” crime writers of the last 100 years. Stephen King called her “special, even extraordinary,” and Gillian Flynn wrote, “She is simply a brilliant novelist.” Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty-five languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her teenager.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 878 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon.
986 reviews194 followers
May 6, 2019
After a tragic event occurs young mother Melisandre Dawes life will never be the same, but the question remains is Melisandre guilty or not guilty. Having never read any books by this author I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I must say the format is set out differently to what I’m use to and perhaps that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would’ve liked.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Yes it was a mystery/ thriller, but it certainly didn’t have me on the edge of my seat. I think this will be a book some readers will love it and some won’t. I myself thought it was an easy read, but I thought it was missing something. Hush Hush by Laura Lippman is the twelfth book in the Tess Monaghan series. Although I wasn’t fussed about this book I would still like to read more by this author.

With thanks to Goodreads and the publishers for for uncorrected proof copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,615 followers
December 4, 2015

*I won this book in a GR Firstreads giveaway*

I love to read a good mystery/thriller, but this one didn't hit the spot for me. Hush, Hush did sound like a book I was going to love. I didn't really like any of the characters. I liked Tess, her child, her partner and Kitty well enough but everyone else was just blah. Now, I know you don't have to like all of the people in the book but even some bad people are well written in a book.

I still can't understand how Melisandre could have left her child in the car to die and then have the trial be called a mistrial. She wasn't found guilty? What part of.. she left her child in the car to die do you not understand. I mean, even if it's insanity... this woman just wandered off to another country and left her other daughters with her husband.



The mistrial thing threw me for such a loop, it took me a bit to figure out what was going on. I thought they stuck her away in a mental institute, but she just goes off to another country. I mean.. I don't know.

Melisandre comes back after so many years and wants to do some kind of documentary of her life and see her daughters.. Seriously, did I miss something. I know I was tired and fell asleep, but I feel like I fell down the rabbit hole in this book.

I don't want to give out any spoilers, but some other weird stuff starts happening when she gets back to town. Someone gets killed, someone gets kicked in the nads, someone blames someone for their crappy life by gun point, and people confessing this that and the other.

I really wanted to like it and there for a little bit I had it at three stars in my mind, but it just got away from me.

All of this is just my little opinion, everyone needs to read a book for themselves and make up their mind whether they love it or not. I'm hoping plenty of people love it. As I have always said, I never not want to like a book, but it does happen.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,733 reviews14.1k followers
March 16, 2015
This is one book where I found Tess's personal life as fascinating as the case she is working on. Juggling work with her three year old daughter, often has Tess wondering if she is a good enough mother. A common thought which many working women and stay at homes moms can relate. Carla Scout, her and Crows daughter is a hoot. She is a formidable little person already and provided many comedic lines.

The common theme in this one is mothers and daughters. The case Tess and Sandy are working on is that of a mom who many years previous had sat under a tree and let her young daughter bake in the car. Ruled not guilty by reason of insanity, Melisandra comes back to try to reclaim the two daughters in custody of their father. Her appearance sets off a firestorm, threats and secrets galore. Another very good and solid story by Lippman. She is one author that seems to only get better and better.

ARC by publisher.
Profile Image for Heather.
126 reviews1 follower
March 14, 2015
I give this book 4 stars for the mystery and one star for the excruciatingly boring tedium of hearing how the main character is now a mother and how her child is being raised on foods that are GMO free, organic only, trans fat free (really?) and how the character is constantly stretched for time and worries that she's a horrible mother. Almost every waking thought she has is how she is a horrible mother. And it doesn't seem like Tess likes it very much. And why is her child always mentioned by both first and second name? This has ruined a good mystery series and I probably won't read another one in it and I have been a long time fan of this series. Reading about raising a child is not a huge interest of mine. So the four stars and the one star balance out to two.
Profile Image for Sue.
2,690 reviews170 followers
July 25, 2017
Laura Lippman's books are an addiction to me simply because I like some of her books but others I have a problem with. But I just can't stay away until I've read the next one and the next one.

This is an emotional read and an angst one. Because I am sure, like me, you will read the part where she leaves her child in the car on a very hot summers day and walks away leaving the child to die.

I'm very concerned that the verdict was not a full guilty, however, its a lighter sentence which carries not real consequence. That bothered me, hence I knocked a star off.

The writing is excellent as always, but I did struggle with some of the plots to be acceptable in today's age.

I hate this 'temporary insanity pleas' when they don't have a past of mental health, boils my blood that does.

When she gets involved in a documentary in the hope in becoming reunited with her other daughters who are with they're dad [and doing very nicely thank you"!] I again could have gladly wrung her neck, the selfish woman. She didn't deserve to be called a Mother.

OK OK so this author has evoked emotion in me, so maybe job done, but I still don't swallow the entire plot.

My thanks to Faber and Faber Ltd via Net Galley for my copy
Profile Image for Alafair Burke.
Author 56 books4,286 followers
January 21, 2015
Laura Lippman's standalone novels are among the best books around, but I had forgotten how much I missed her (my/our) Tess Monaghan. This is Lippman at her very best. Don't miss it.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,734 reviews938 followers
November 25, 2019
Sigh. What a great book this was. I was initially skeptical for how Lippman was doing this (interview style format sprinkled with third person POVs) but it really works. I also liked the conversation around motherhood. A mother killing their child is seen as being a horrific thing with a lot of people not even wanting to get to the point they can understand how that happens. I thought that everything really worked in this one. The characters, the writing, the flow, and even the slowly dawning reality of what type of mother Melisandre Harris Dawes was before and is now.

In "Hush Hush" Tess takes on a client that will challenge her ideas on motherhood and marriage. She's asked by her uncle (still funny)Tyner Gray to take on Melisandre as a client. Melisandre more than a decade earlier left her two month old daughter in her car in the summer. The baby died, and though the prosecution was eager to convict her, she was judged temporary insane. Giving up custody of her other two daughters, she has lived overseas. Now with her mother's death, she's returned to Baltimore to try to forge a relationship with her two surviving daughters, Alanna and Ruby. She plans on using a documentary that is being made about her as a way back into her daughters lives. But now there are questions resurfacing about what really happened ten years ago. With Tess dealing with increasingly threatening notes about how she is as a mother, her emotions are raw with dealing with Melisandre. Another murder though lives more questions with Tess trying to figure out who has killed before and who has killed now.

As Lippman delves, you have her focusing mostly on mothers who get rid of their children for another man, another future, or you have those who in the moment, were truly insane and did not have control over their own actions (like Andrea Yates). Since Tess is now a mother of a toddler and still living with Crow, she has a lot of questions about how she is as a mother, is she doing enough, is she not there for her daughter, and the case has her thinking on what makes a marriage too. There is mention of Medea in the book and in the author's afterword. I am definitely one of those mythology readers who thought Jason was terrible and Medea got a raw deal.

I loved we get more character POVs in this one, we have Tess's partner Sandy, her aunt, her client, Melisandre (or Missy), Melisandre's two daughters, the documentary filmmaker, Harmony, and even other characters via interview. Each person gives you a perspective not only on Melisandre, but on what is going in motion in the here and now. I liked the questions being asked about motherhood, why do women try to have it all. Part of you is going to despise Melisandre, but also like how she is clearly able to see the traps with motherhood and within her own marriage. And then you are going to despise her all over again.

What I thought was interesting about this one is that we get a special insight into Tyner and his relationship with Tess's aunt Kitty. And we even get insight into Kitty via another character as well. I think this book just pushes at preconceived notions about motherhood or marriage. We have Tyner saying that he never wanted to marry, but he met Kitty and that was it. When you see how he is linked to Melisandre though, you start to have a lot of questions. I thought it was great though. The whole book and characters were messy.

I thought the writing was great though the interview style format was a bit hard to get into at first. It works though and after I got to the ending, I went back to some parts of it. The flow worked really well too.

The ending was a shocker though. I loved the reveal about things before and now. I mean Lippman doesn't spell out things in the before for you, but you get enough to realize what really happened ten years ago (or at least I did).

The ending also leaves things slightly changed between Tess and Crow and their future.

I hope one day Lippman revisits this character/series. I love Tess and she's been a great character to follow in 2019.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
792 reviews12.3k followers
March 1, 2015
Hush Hush is a mystery that you won’t be able to put down! The story focuses on PI Tess Monaghan who has been contracted to work for Melisandre Dawes, a former lawyer from an affluent background, who was declared legally insane for leaving her baby, Isadora, to die in a hot car 10 years ago in Baltimore. Having fled to South Africa and London after she was released from the mental institution, Melisandre has returned to Baltimore with the intention of making a documentary about the events that led to her baby’s death, but she really has come back to reunite with two daughters she left behind. Whether or not Melisandre was insane at the time of Isadora’s question is one of the driving forces of this mystery.

Hush Hush is the first Tess Monaghan/Laura Lippman book that I have read, and I found it to be an engaging mystery. I didn’t feel lost at all when it came to Tess’s character, enough information is provided for the reader about Tess’s past. I will now be catching up on Lippman’s earlier novels. I was fortunate to receive this book from Goodreads as a giveaway.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,430 reviews989 followers
March 15, 2015
I’m a fan of Laura Lippman’s crime novels and I was very pleased to see the return of Tess Monaghan in this story – one of my favourite literary heroines, I know I’m in for a good read when she’s involved and I was right.

In this story, she is reluctantly drawn into the case of Melisandre Harris Dawes, a woman who allowed her daughter to suffocate in a hot car one day whilst she sat by and did nothing. Found to be criminally insane, she has been living away from her other two daughters. Now back, she is involved in a documentary film, but someone is watching and waiting and Tess finds herself stuck in the middle.

The quality of writing is always of a high and addictive standard in Ms Lippman’s books – no change here then as you inexorably get dragged into the world of Melisandre – a woman who may not have been responsible for her actions then but due to her personality she’ll have you wondering. Some emotional and heart wrenching issues here, all enveloped in an intriguing mystery and giving a lot of food for thought. Personally I detested Melisandre and all that she stood for, but even so I could not make up my mind whether the death of her youngest daughter was deliberate. Some clever writing and a great psychological depth to the character will keep you going back and forth on that one…

Then we have Tess – I especially enjoyed learning more about her personal life, a mother herself she has worries about her own ability to parent – this makes for some interesting insights and interactions as she struggles with Melisandre, to do her job without prejudice and to cope with all the daily stress that motherhood can bring. Beautifully drawn, she is engaging and a great anchor to the rest of the tale.

Possibly the best part of this for me though was the family left behind and the way in which their story is told- Melisandre’s surviving daughters have, of course, been affected by it all. Their Father has re-married and his new wife was probably the character I sympathised with most. A baby of her own now, she longs to be there for her stepdaughters but they dismiss her attempts to love them. The sisters have an intelligently written, often confrontational relationship that will absolutely enthrall.

Overall then a terrific character driven mystery story that will keep you turning those pages until the final revelations – the subject matter is horrific but handled with grace and authenticity whilst still being a fantastic crime fiction novel.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!
Profile Image for Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.
2,456 reviews513 followers
May 4, 2015

Though Hush Hush is the 12th mystery to feature journalist turned private investigator Tess Monaghan it can easily be read as a stand alone given its encapsulated story line.

In Hush Hush, Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore P.D. homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, are hired to assess the security needs of Melisandre Harris Dawes, a woman who ten years previously had been charged with the wilful murder of her infant daughter. Having returned to Baltimore with an ambitious documentary maker in tow, Melisandre claims she wants to tell her side of the story and reunite with her estranged teenage daughters, Alanna and Ruby, but a series of sinister notes threaten both the project and the reunion.

The past and the present are on a collision course in this tale of madness, betrayal and murder.

Melisandre is manipulative and demanding and Tess suspects she is not being completely honest with her uncle, Melisandre's lawyer, Tyner Grey. Despite being found not guilty in the death of her child, due to postpartum psychosis, questions remain about Melisandre's past and the true motivation behind her current actions.
Melisandre's surviving daughters, now teenagers, are conflicted about their mother's attempts to reach out to them, especially as their father is reluctant to allow contact, for both the obvious reasons and to keep his own secrets.

Lippman extends the story beyond the crime exploring the effects of Melisandre's actions on both her family and the wider community. She also examines the experience of motherhood and the ways in which women can struggle with it.

Events in Tess's personal life adds another layer of interest to the story. Tess is still adjusting to juggling motherhood with her career, and nurturing her relationship with Crow. She, like Melisandre, is also being taunted by a series of anonymous notes that grow increasingly threatening.

Hush Hush is a solid story of suspense with interesting characters, and though there is very little action, the pace is brisk with events taking place over a period of about two weeks. It is an easy and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,226 reviews1,274 followers
January 23, 2016
I received this book from Goodreads for an honest review. Thank you to Goodreads and to Laura Lippman.

Let's just say when going into this novel, one has to know that you will be engaging in some topics that will raise your internal register. Anything that deals with the brutal reality of mothering children nowadays, for the competent and for the incompetent, touches us at the giving end or at the receiving end.

The focus is on the character of the mother who stood by in a deep fog as her young daughter was left in a car to suffocate on a hot day. She is imprisoned for the heinous crime. Once released, she is now involved in a documentary which will include her two older daughters who presently live with the father. Will they reunite with their mother? Is there really a chance of redemption after all is lost? Was this a case of postpartum depression or was it something else?

Lippman's sleuth, Tess Monaghan, is front and center. I do agree with others in regard to Lippman's presentation of Monaghan's role as a parent of a cantankerous three year old. I suppose Lippman's idea is for all of us to see ourselves in the parental role.....wired and exhausted. It was a bit overused at times.

This was a good read, a bit predictable, but a good read. I'm looking forward to the next offering by Laura Lippman.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
3,271 reviews556 followers
April 14, 2015
Groan, groan, groan. Being a Laura Lippman fan, I am super underwhelmed here. The best aspect was the interview form of the very first section. For me, the entire rest of the tedium was a down hill slide. It was a Mommy Blog meets social "awareness" amongst some uninteresting and off-putting characters.

Don't like this form of Tess, nor her food Nazi Crow, or any of the politico slant context assumptions either. But the most miserable departure is that she no longer high-lights Baltimore in the same way. Another core detail SO missed. These Tess are no longer for me. I would have given it one star except for the strong first 4 or 5 page interview INTRO. That's a great format and sure beats all the "he said, she said" that goes into most mystery genre narrations.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,660 reviews26 followers
September 15, 2017
I like Tess and her life in Baltimore. I didn't like the main characters and wanted more from the characters that we usually see more of - Aunt Kitty and Crow.
Profile Image for Patti.
Author 5 books117 followers
July 16, 2015
Either the other people reviewing this book all have kids, or else we read a different book. I will grant it 4 stars for the mystery part-I love seeing rich people fail, and so I was pretty excited about that. I also really wanted to know how it would all end and in that respect, I kept reading and reading well into the night.

But...seriously? Carla Scout this and Carla Scout that. I do not care about her organic pizza, I do not care about her tantrums, I do not care that Tess thinks she's a bad mom (as she tells us 47,000 times), I do not care about her green eggs and ham, Sam I am. See? I'm going nuts just thinking about the absolute tedium in the "family" parts of the book.

Let's break it down:

1) Tess is receiving anonymous notes. Now personally, I hoped that she was the one writing them. How awesome would that have been? Series ends on a big FUCK YOU with Tess going batshit crazy and being hauled off to the loony bin like Melisandre! Yes!

2) The person writing the notes to Tess is someone we've never heard of and don't give two shits about.

3) Aunt Kitty had an out-of-wedlock kid almost 40 years ago. Why is this important? Why did this have to happen? I question the author's real life decision to have a kid at age 50 (what? was her marriage falling apart and she thought she'd save it? can she add? She'll be almost 70 when her kid graduates from high school!), but does that mean every character has to have a secret kid? Is Whitney going to admit having a kid?

4) I will give two thumbs up to the scene when Melisandre gets up in the "stay at home"'s grill about how bored she is. That was great!

5) I really loved the whole mystery about Melisandre (was she really insane? I think she was unglued, but not legally insane) and her daughters. If the book was just about them, I would have given it 4 stars.

6) Maybe I am hallucinating, but I swear that I read another story where Tess and Crow got married. It doesn't really matter, but I really thought I did.

7) I am going to pretend that the series ended before the pregnancy and go on about my life. Thank you.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Deanna .
664 reviews12.4k followers
July 8, 2015
3.5 stars

I found this book to be a fairly decent read. Some of the characters were quite unlikeable. Of course some were meant to be that way. A mother pleads temporary insanity and wins her case after her baby dies after being left in a car in the heat. After being released the mother, Melisandre abandons her other two children and flees to London. Years later she decides to make a documentary on the issue of temporary insanity pleas. She leaves London to start the documentary and hopes to reunite with her daughters. As well we learn more about Tess and her struggles with motherhood while she works for Melisandre and a recent homicide case. I don't want to give to much away so will leave it at that.

I’m a fan of Laura Lippman’s crime novels. However, I usually like her stand-alone novels better than the Tess Monaghan series. Saying that I have still enjoyed quite a few of the books from the series as well. While this one wasn't my favorite it was still an enjoyable read.

Profile Image for Kristen.
2,071 reviews131 followers
December 7, 2019
In Laura Lippman's Hush Hush, the 12th installment in the Tess Monaghan mystery series, this caper is so dark and creepy and could be straight from the news headlines. When Tess is hired to work the Melisandre Harris Dawes' defense, she never experienced working anyone like her before. Once acquitted for killing her youngest daughter Isadora by pleading guilty by insanity, she fled the country after she was acquitted from all charges. But when Harmony Barnes was in charge of shooting a documentary on her story, things change. Now after ten years away from them, the spotlight is back on her and her family when the documentary told the story and shone it in another light. Her ex is newly remarried with a young baby son and accidents do happen, including one that left her trainer startled and her husband dead. Now it's up to Tess unravel the real story on what happened and if Melisandre is behind it or someone else. While Tess is dealing with this complex case, she's busy being a mother to Carla and waited to tie the knot with her lover Crow. In the end, Tess picked the pieces to solve this mystery to set things right for everyone involved before it's too late.
Profile Image for Dez Nemec.
710 reviews22 followers
May 11, 2018
Not doing so hot lately. I'm halfway through this book, and while I liked the other Tess Monaghan novels that I've read, but I feel like this one fell flat. In 150 pages, all they have done is film a documentary about a woman who killed her daughter, probably wanted to kill the other 2, and is overall just a crappy human being. There's a bit of other stuff thrown in here and there, but nothing has really happened yet. I just can't bring myself to care and keep going. Another DNF.
Profile Image for Raluca.
152 reviews75 followers
August 31, 2018
This was the first book I read by this author. The cover plus the "New York Times Bestseller" tagline made me believe this would be a darker novel. Sure, the subject matter was dark - a mother leaving her baby in the car until the baby died of heat - but the way it was presented was a bit... superficial. Too light-hearted and easily glossed over. Not enough depth to it.

I guess that just how there's that stereotype about the dark, lonely, broody male detective, there seems to be a cliche about the female detective desperately dealing with her children and a husband/lover that doesn't understand her struggles with motherhood at all. It's the third or fourth series where I stumble upon this case and it's downright annoying. The problems are that 1) the children seem to be just prompts. They don't actually carry any kind of personality or desire of their own, they're just there to be annoying and interrupt their mother's snooping around; 2) the mother never asks her husband/lover to help her around. She just assumes that's the natural state of things and she can't help it; 3) the mother never actually talks about her worries about being a bad mom with anybody else - husband/lover, friends, family - until maybe the very end of this book, after some sort of general crisis. It's just that the whole situation seems to be forced onto the female protagonist, instead of actually developing from her inner struggle, and is an artificial struggle against the real detective work. Yes, there are detective moms that have a hard time balancing it out. But I actually want to see them develop as a person because of that.

As for the mystery itself, I thought it was somewhat unfair, as the crucial pieces to the puzzle were offered at the very end, when the main character confronts the accused, rather than along the way to let the reader solve the mystery together with the MC.

Oh, and another thing... I get that the whole "Feed the baby only organic food!" was supposed to be a major plot point, but... damn. In the beginning, I thought the father of the child just didn't want his kid to eat sugary stuff (which is a good idea), but he had no problem with sugar and junk food, as long as they were "organic, locally resourced, gluten-free etc. etc.". Just... what is the point of that? Your kid is still eating junk. You're just more stressed about finding the junk the kid wants.
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,053 reviews1,375 followers
February 24, 2015

Did she or didn't she?

Melisandre was found not guilty, but was the charge of insanity the correct charge? How could anyone not be guilty of forgetting her child in a hot car?

After the trial, Melisandre left the country and lost custody of her other two children.

Melisandre returned years later, but when another murder occurred and she was present, she wasn't going to be going anywhere.​

The characters in HUSH, HUSH were an interesting mix and most were not likable. Melisandre was evil and manipulative, and her ex-husband wasn't a nice person. The girls, Alanna and Ruby, were ok. They were confused and were the way they were because of their crazy mother and their sneaky father.

HUSH, HUSH was set up in an interesting way. The book started​ out with an interview and had several throughout the book with people who knew Melisandre because Melisandre wanted to make a documentary about when she met her estranged daughters. I didn't understand what the documentary was going to prove or the purpose of it. HUSH, HUSH then went back and forth between Melisandre and Tess's life and actually all over the place.

​HUSH, HUSH was difficult for me to follow. Not sure if it was the way it was set up or just the storyline. I also couldn't keep the characters straight. It did get a bit better toward the end but was still confusing even though the ending pages wrapped it all up.

​I was disappointed because I always enjoy Ms. Lippman's books. 3/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Barbara Nutting.
2,720 reviews90 followers
August 16, 2018
Most confusing book I’ve ever read - I stuck with it to be un-confused, which never happened. It was so disjointed and filled with innuendos I kept thinking I missed something. Still don’t get what the kids books had to do with it??? This is the second Laura book I have read, first one with Tess - hated every character, I would have put Carla Scout in a hot car with a package of Twinkies and a Coke. What an obnoxious brat.

This book had the same formula as Every Secret Thing - 2 young girls, then again as teenagers, builder husband, younger 2nd wife in big new house, dead baby' new baby, ethnic males and everyone has secrets!!

I think you have to read this series in order - too many characters that I could barely keep track. Don’t give a male a female name I.e. Sandy.

Profile Image for Nik Korpon.
Author 37 books67 followers
January 7, 2016
It's been a while since I read a Lippman novel, and twenty pages into HUSH HUSH, I found myself saying, "Why the hell did you wait so long?" It's nice to see the how Tess has matured in the years since I last read her, and a little scary to see my own kids reflected in Carla Scout. The way Lippman balances crime, family dynamics, old vendettas, an affinity for Baltimore (my hometown as well), and social commentary is something I aspire to.

The downside of this book is that my TBR pile is huge already, and HUSH HUSH led me to stack five more Tess Monaghan novels on it.
Profile Image for Laurel-Rain.
Author 6 books230 followers
March 15, 2015
Twelve years ago, a young mother named Melisandre Dawes locked her infant daughter in the car on a hot day. The baby's death led to charges, but after a mistrial and then a retrial with a judge, the mother was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

After years of not seeing her older two daughters, Alanna and Ruby, now 17 and 15, Melisandre is seeking a reunion, facilitated by a filmed documentary that will capture the moment, along with her version of the story. Her story of the severe postpartum psychosis that led to the tragedy.

Harmony Burns, a young film maker, has set the process in motion.

Tess Monaghan has been hired by Melisandre's attorney, Tyner Gray, to be in charge of security before and during filming. But nowadays, Tess is juggling work and the rearing of her three-year-old daughter Carla Scout, whom she co-parents with her partner Crow. Her insecurities about how she is managing it all add depth to the story.

But before the reunion can take place, the girls change their minds about the meeting, and suddenly other strange events happen, such as the arrival of a series of threatening notes. Both Tess and Melisandre are on the receiving end. The notes seem innocuous at first, but gradually reveal that someone is stalking them, someone who knows way too much about them.

Suddenly everything changes, as one after another near-tragedy followed by a death lead to a whole other kind of investigation for Tess. Who is the stalker, and what is behind it all? Why are Alanna and Ruby seemingly keeping secrets from the past? Who has leaked the news of the notes to the press?

Multiple narrators tell the story, set in Baltimore, and as we see it all unfold, we learn more about the characters and their motives. Melisandre is an unlikable, entitled woman whose wealth and privilege set her apart from most people in her orbit. She hires and fires willy-nilly, and expects others to jump to her every command.

Alanna is a disturbed young woman showing the effects of life's traumas, and the secrets she keeps are dangerous ones.

Ruby is an eavesdropper who learns much of what is going on in this manner. What she does with some of her secrets brings the story to a crucial point.

Stephen Dawes, the ex-husband, has a new wife, Felicia, and a new baby, Joey. He is very controlling and secretive as well.

And almost behind the scenes in "Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel," Aunt Kitty adds her own special voice.

As the story moves along at a comfortable pace, the suspense ratchets up unexpectedly, followed by a seamless, yet stunning reveal. And then comes a feel-good scenario that left me smiling. 5.0 stars.
Profile Image for Jessica.
2,207 reviews47 followers
March 17, 2015
While I think I slightly prefer Lippman's recent standalones to this series, Tess's transition into motherhood and how it impacts her thinking in this case resonated powerfully for me. I love seeing Sandy return from After I'm Gone to be just the sort of grounded, steady foil Tess needs in her newly-harried existence and I'm eager to see where Lippman takes that relationship.

While Lippman stands a good chance at capturing fans of Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah through her exploration of the not-at-all-reliably narrating Melisandre Harris Dawes, it's a fundamentally different take that I find very interesting. While Flynn puts her characters' damage front and center and Hannah excels at the woman caught in a gaslighting self-doubt, Lippman pulls her lens back to capture the ripple effect a damaged person sends out into her environment. It's much less about the fact of Melisandre's crime and much more about aftermath - why she's returned, what she wants, and what happens as expectations clash against reality. You'll start out thinking this will read like a horror show, but in these capable hands, the story becomes much more.
1,899 reviews
March 1, 2015
While it is nice to have another chance to spend time with Tess and her gang, I did not find this to be one of the stronger books in the series. Tess is still struggling with the logistics and the emotional cost of motherhood, but her life is mostly going well.

Tyner hires Tess on to work for Melisandre Dawes, a beautiful wealthy diva who was found not guilty of murder when she left her infant daughter to die in a parked car a decade ago. Tyner is jumping to follow her wishes, protective, almost subservient. Melisandre is having a documentary made ostensibly as part of an effort to regain contact with her two teenage daughters whom she hasn't seen since ceding custody to their father after the death of their infant sister.

So Tyner is acting like an idiot, Melisandre is a demanding bitch and the two teenagers are, well, teenagers and fairly understandably conflicted. Father has remarried, new baby brother, younger wife resented by daughters. Yawn. There is a minor plot line about somebody leaving increasingly menacing notes for Tess - on her car, at her house - that mirrors the notes being left for Melisandre, but it is still mostly a distraction.

I did not find the book as interesting or engaging as earlier books in the series, but it was a decent read.
Profile Image for Donna.
353 reviews282 followers
February 10, 2016
Goodreads Giveaway.

I've been away from Lippman's Tess Monaghan series for quite awhile and lots of changes have taken place in Tess's life, still I could jump right in and enjoy the sites and sounds of Baltimore as I got reacquainted with Tess.

As many have said this book is really about parents and children, mostly mothers and daughters, with a heartbreaking crime/accident as the focal point. Layer upon layer of secrets and misunderstandings are revealed and examined as Lippman works to a conclusion, not a happy ever after one but a satisfying one.

And yes, Carla Scout is a hoot.
1,428 reviews51 followers
June 11, 2015
I immensely enjoy Hush, Hush by Laura Lippman and if I had actually bothered to look I would have known I was jumping into the 12th Tess Monaghan book. On the upside I have a new to me series to begin and I will now go back and begin with book one, Baltimore Blues, so I can see the character of Tess Monaghan unfold as Lippman intended.
Profile Image for Jodi Schulz.
697 reviews6 followers
August 26, 2015
I didn't like this at all. I've read other books by Lippman and really enjoyed them but this was boring. This was my first book in this "series" and I found it really hard to get through. The story could have been interesting but really nothing interesting happened.
Profile Image for John Biddle.
506 reviews47 followers
December 21, 2021
My least favorite Tess Monaghan book. I couldn't gin up any interest or empathy with Melisandre Dawes, who 10 years ago killed her youngest daughter by leaving her in a hot car for hours. She was able to get off on a temporary insanity plea, but this was never made credible. She's back doing a video documentary of the incident and aftermath but really want to gain custody of the 2 other daughters she left behind after the trial.

I pushed through this but wouldn't particularly recommend it. There's much less of Tess (very likeable) and much more of characters I didn't like at all. Earlier Tess Monaghan books are MUCH better.
Profile Image for Hazel.
282 reviews
November 3, 2020

35% Good

What I thought of Hush Hush: I randomly picked this book up at the library in hopes of a good thriller. I guess it kind of was but it just was not my cup of tea so after about 150 pages I put it down.

Author: Laura Lippman
Pages: 303
Ages: 13+ for recountings of violent incidents and some sexual references
Displaying 1 - 30 of 878 reviews

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