In her fifth case (Live to Tell, 2010, etc.), Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren takes on one tough mother.
Tessa Leoni is smart, brave, resourceful and quirky, among other character traits that bring to mind, yes, D.D. Warren, who might well be her mirror image. For instance, Tessa believes unshakably in the doctrine of my way or get lost, convinced that her way has been sanctioned by whatever gods there may be and is consequently the only sensible way out of trouble and strife. She is as stubborn about that kind of thing as D.D. would be under similar circumstances. Tessa, a Massachusetts state trooper, and D.D., a Boston homicide cop, both view law enforcement with high seriousness. In fact, if asked to furnish a list prioritizing life-callings, it’s a no-brainer that both women would rank only one item before it: motherhood, which might, curiously enough, bear directly on the instant hostility that newly pregnant D.D. feels for Tessa on first meeting her. This takes place in Tessa’s kitchen, where her husband has only recently lain dead, three bullets in his chest. No mystery how they got there. She fired them, Tessa explains, and one look at the severe bruising of her face—a broken cheekbone among other injuries—testifies in her behalf: A battered wife has, with considerable justification, shot her abuser. But where, wonders D.D., is 6-year-old Sophie? What’s happened to the daughter everyone says Tessa loves so deeply? And, most importantly, most infuriatingly, why isn’t Tessa more eager to help the police search for her? Was it already too late for Sophie? And could Tessa possibly be complicit? The all but unflappable D.D. shudders: “How could a woman…How could a mother…”Takes a bit long to get where it’s obviously going; still, you won’t often find two such sympathetic protagonists paired, refreshingly, as antagonists.