Sunburn by Laura Lippman
eBook review copy; 304 pages
Sunburn by Laura Lippman is an excellent, very highly recommended novel of psychological suspense. Written in the traditional noir style of writer James M. Cain, this novel is full of dark secrets, passion, and betrayal.
Set in 1995, Polly and Adam meet at the High-Ho tavern in Belleville,
Delaware. Both claim to just be passing through when they first meet,
but both find jobs at the tavern and stay. Neither Polly nor Adam is who
they say they are; both have secrets and a private agenda. They are
attracted to each other, but keep their distance, staying guarded and
alert, but focused on the other. Fate determines they will become
Polly was on
beach vacation in
Fenwick, Delaware, with her husband, Gregg, and three-year-old
daughter, Jani, when she walked out and left them both behind. What kind
of woman leaves her husband and daughter behind? Adam knows a bit more
about Polly than Gregg does. Adam has been told about her past, hired
to find her, and figure out what she is doing. Both have secrets and are
playing a game, but one of them is playing a long con and murder may be
Superb, excellent, outstanding! Lippman's skillful writing shines in
this sophisticated, twisty, satisfying noir, full of secrets, past and
present, and mysteries. Sunburn is perfectly plotted and will
gripe you from the beginning to the end. Readers will not know who or if
they can trust any of these characters. There is betrayal, revenge,
lust, and murder, but where does the truth rest? The mystery will grip
you while you try to figure out what these people are planning.
And the characters! Lippman shines in her ability to portray these
characters. They are all so well-developed - nuanced, complicated,
mysterious, finely layered, conflicted. Certainly Polly is an unreliable
narrator and unlikable, or is she? Adam has his secrets, but does he
know the truth? Can we trust what they are revealing, or do we need to
seek what they aren't saying? Even the supporting cast of characters is
I enjoyed Sunburn from start to finish.
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.