Each month we choose one book you absolutely can not miss. This month Meike has reviewed that pick, Laura Lippman’s Sunburn, for the blog. It’s out February 20th and you can pre-order now.
Laura Lippman’s latest, Sunburn, just might be the perfect beach read. It takes off gradually, allowing the tension to build slowly, until the story plunges the reader into a roller coaster thrill ride with countless twists and turns before smoothly bringing him or her to a satisfying conclusion. You can no more put this book down than you can stop the ride from hurtling forward.
But Sunburn is so much more—it’s a masterwork of modern noir, invoking the style of James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice). Make no mistake—this is a dark tale of secrets and lies with its share of dead bodies. It’s not the coaster at a shiny clean mega theme park; the tone reflects a slightly more frightening rickety coaster ride at a second-rate theme park that has seen better days. Lippman masterfully evokes the shadier side of summer with this searing tale of secrets and passion.
The story begins with Polly, a mysterious redhead who is passing through a small town when she stops in at a bar and meets the equally mysterious Adam; the first thing he notices about her is her sunburned shoulders. We soon learn that Polly has just abruptly left her husband and young daughter in the midst of a family beach vacation. The reader also learns that Adam is a private investigator who has been hired to find Polly, but we don’t know by whom. They both realize that a relationship between them threatens the secrets they’re trying to keep, yet they succumb to their mutual attraction and a heated affair ensues. They decide to stay in town for a bit and take jobs in the local diner. As their relationship unfolds, each is unsure about the other’s motivations; we slowly learn just how many secrets each is keeping from the other. There are no heroes here—both characters are deeply flawed, and we’re not really sure to what extent each is simply playing the other. Lippman keeps the reader guessing until the very end.
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years before turning to writing full time. She is the critically acclaimed author of the Tess Monaghan series as well as nine standalone crime novels. Her body of work has received countless awards and Sunburn is sure to receive its share of accolades.