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Call-girl thriller portrait of madam with mission

By Kendal Weaver, Associated Press
Aug. 22, 2012 at 10 p.m.


The newspaper headline screams "Suburban Madam Dead In Apparent Suicide." Heloise Lewis, a single mom raising a young boy, sees it at a Starbucks and is full of sympathy.

"She could have been my neighbor," she explains to a couple of chatty but irritable strangers in the waiting line. "She was someone's neighbor. Someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's mother."

In fact, the suburban madam could have been Heloise Lewis.

Heloise, the heroine of this suspenseful and intriguing thriller, "And When She Was Good," is the cautious operator of a successful call-girl ring drawing discreet clients around Baltimore, Washington and the Maryland state capital at Annapolis. She provides well-paying work for a half-dozen attractive young women, takes her cut when they turn tricks and pockets even more at her own assignations.

By the end, the threats are even deadly.

Laura Lippman, an award-winning mystery writer, skillfully draws a portrait of a woman on the edge, making Heloise's dark and gritty career choice understandable and her struggle to get out alive a truly scary narrative.

It's a page turner from the start.

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