Book Review : Sunburn by Laura Lippman | More2read

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by Bustle, Popsugar, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Seattle Times, Book Riot, LitHub, BookPage, and Paperback Paris.

New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman returns with a superb novel of psychological suspense about a pair of lovers with the best intentions and the worst luck: two people locked in a passionate yet uncompromising game of cat and mouse. But instead of rules, this game has dark secrets, forbidden desires, inevitable betrayals—and cold-blooded murder.

One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?

Praise for Sunburn:

“Cool and twisty.”
(New York Times Book Review)

“Every time Laura Lippman comes out with a new book, I get chills because I know I am back in the hands of the master. She is simply a brilliant novelist, an unflinching chronicler of life in America right now, and Sunburn is her dark, gleaming noir gem. Read it.”
(Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl)

“Laura Lippman continues to push the envelope of modern crime-writing. Sunburn, her take on noir, may be her nerviest novel yet, an unsparing look at how lovers can betray one another.”
(Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author)

“Modern noir at its best, it will delight old-movie lovers, satisfy suspense readers, and reward Lippman’s legion of fans.”
(Library Journal (starred review))

“You can tell how much fun the author had updating the classic noir tropes, and it’s contagious. Plotty, page-turning pleasure.”
(Kirkus Reviews)

“This is Lippman at her observant, fiercest best, a force to be reckoned with in crime fiction.”
(Publishers Weekly)

“Ingeniously constructed and extremely suspenseful, the novel keeps us guessing right up until its final moments. Lippman is a popular and dependable writer, and this homage to classic noir showcases a writer at the height of her powers.”

“I feel like it creates a whole new category, which I’m thinking of as ‘femme noir’ […] She’s taken this traditional noir structure of a man sweeping in to save a woman who then turns around and eats his heart out—she’s turned that notion on its head.”
(Wall Street Journal)

“Another extraordinary novel from Laura Lippman—full of just-one-more chapter, stay-up-late suspense, but packed too with nuance, subtlety, observation and humanity. Lippman is a natural storyteller at the height of her powers.”
(Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author)


Reinvention of classic noir gripping narrative of the likes of noir master author James M Cain with some greater evolution in telling more stealth more seductive and hypnotic, and big lies hiding terrible truths.
A portrait within a portrait of a…….
At one point i am thinking of that Bogart line from Casablanca “In all the gin joints…” why does this redhead have to land with this Adam in this place.
You will by close of book discover why a Dundalk girl of whom the farthest she’s ever been from her home is the beach doing in a roadside Delaware restaurant.
Narrative seductively and hypnotically driving the reader on with careful craft in writing unravelling slowly what truths lays within the becoming of this mysterious redhead.
Answering a question in the tale “What kind of woman walks out on her family?” we have a compelling narrative potently encompassing mystery, suspense, and psychologically tilted minds.


“He doesn’t go in hard. He’s not that way. Doesn’t have to be, if that doesn’t sound too vain. It’s just a fact: he’s a Ken doll kind of guy, if Ken had a great year-round tan. Tall and muscular with even features, pale eyes, dark hair. Women always assume that Ken wants a Barbie, but he prefers his women thin and a little skittish. In his downtime, he likes to hunt deer. Bow and arrow. He goes to the woods of western Maryland, where he can spend an entire day sitting in a tree, waiting, and he loves it. Tom Petty was wrong about that. The waiting’s not the hardest part. Waiting can be beautiful, lush, full of possibility.”

“…isn’t against the law, leaving your family at the beach. She’s surprised more women don’t do it. She got the idea from a book she read two months ago. Well, she didn’t actually read it and she had been planning her own escape for a while. But everybody was talking about it, like it was a fantasy. If only you knew, she wanted to tell her neighbors along Kentucky Avenue. If only you knew what it means to walk away from something, what it takes.”

“Why is she here? Does her husband know where she is? Does the husband know anything? Why did she leave him? And her little girl, how does that work?”

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 24 February 2018