Sunburn

Sunburn

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 play...

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Title:Sunburn
Author:Laura Lippman
Rating:

Sunburn Reviews

  • Stephanie

    The perfect slow burn of a novel, with excellent characters and pitch-perfect pacing. Lippman perfectly captures the feeling of wistfulness in summer as it starts the march to fall and the satisfaction in waiting, and the languorous feel of novel is one of its best features.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    I have read at least 10 Laura Lippman novels (this is the 6th since I started using this Goodreads account 6 years ago) and while there are a couple I like a lot, most of the time I read them and just want a little bit more. Still, she's usually reliable to write something readable (especially her standalones) and I recommend her a lot.

    But from the beginning I could tell this was going to be my favorite Lippman book. It felt different from the first page. (So did AFTER I'M GONE, which is probab

    I have read at least 10 Laura Lippman novels (this is the 6th since I started using this Goodreads account 6 years ago) and while there are a couple I like a lot, most of the time I read them and just want a little bit more. Still, she's usually reliable to write something readable (especially her standalones) and I recommend her a lot.

    But from the beginning I could tell this was going to be my favorite Lippman book. It felt different from the first page. (So did AFTER I'M GONE, which is probably my second favorite.) Around 10% in there was a casual but crucial reveal and I went from pretty interested to totally hooked.

    When I read the Acknowledgements it all clicked. This is Lippman writing in the style of James M. Cain, one of my favorite writers, and one of the godfathers of Noir-style crime fiction. This is my personal sweet spot. It is why I gravitate to crime writers like Megan Abbott who take that noir style and focus it on mysterious and intriguing female characters. This kind of book is all about people not being what they seem, not to the other characters or even to you. A noir novel should have at least two kinds of puzzles: the first being who are these characters really, and the second being what will they do.

    I tore through SUNBURN and I suspect many other readers will, too, even if they're not typically readers of Noir. Polly fits squarely into the "unlikable female protagonist" that I am so interested in exploring, and Lippman lets us slowly discover her, to have our impression of her constantly changed, to gradually uncover more and more of her past, and ultimately her true self. The reveals here are rewarding both in terms of the plot and to tell us more about the character, it's masterfully done. It's also rare that I encounter a love story in a crime novel that doesn't feel tacked on, there's one here where we get to see both characters fall for each other, follow them through it, and feel it pay off.

    The ending is too quick and tied up for my liking, even if I approve of the final destination itself. It's a bit of a departure from the slow burn the rest of the book does so nicely.

    Be aware there are several plot points here around domestic abuse, with several acts described in detail.

  • Maggie

    Having never read Laura Lippman before, I had no idea what to expect from this novel. As stated in the blurb, this is an unusual style for her written in modern noir after James M. Cain. That being said, I'm am not the person to tell you how this compares to Lippman's other novels.

    This is the first ARC I've ever read, and it was given to me by Bookstagrammer Emily Gardner (@emilyreadsbooks). This was so exciting to read a book that won't be on shelves until February!!! What!? Thanks, Emily, for

    Having never read Laura Lippman before, I had no idea what to expect from this novel. As stated in the blurb, this is an unusual style for her written in modern noir after James M. Cain. That being said, I'm am not the person to tell you how this compares to Lippman's other novels.

    
This is the first ARC I've ever read, and it was given to me by Bookstagrammer Emily Gardner (@emilyreadsbooks). This was so exciting to read a book that won't be on shelves until February!!! What!? Thanks, Emily, for making me feel like book rockstar.

    
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am a tough critic on crime thrillers. More often than not, I'm unwilling to suspend my disbelief and follow some far-fetched roller coaster. It's just not the way the legal system works, people!

    
Do I think Sunburn is similarly implausible? Yes. But there's something to say about this noir style and how it did this book a world of favors. The novel becomes something totally different. Suddenly, I was reading this through a black and white lens of the 1940's films like The Maltese Falcon. You know, trench coats and cigarettes, curvy red-heads, the whole bit. Because that feeling is so iconic, and I think Laura Lippman did a great job of mimicking that familiar style, I was able to follow pretty seamlessly through the tangled web of murder and deceit without pausing to think "Could this really happen?"

    
This book was so much fun to read! I flew through it and found myself being surprised more than once. Lippman helps us get inside the head of our main characters enough to know them, and know them well, but without being able to predict their next move. It's got intrigue, forbidden romance, and plenty of crime. If you're into that, give it a try in February! Four stars.


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  • Latkins

    I've read a few novels by Laura Lippman, and this is one of the best. Told from many points of view, it's set in 1995, as Polly appears in the small town of Belleville, Delaware, at the start of the summer. She gets a flat and starts waitressing at the local cafe, where her sunburned shoulders catch the eye of Adam, also new in town. Adam is actually a private investigation and is being paid by someone in Polly's past to track her down, but who is it? Polly, or Pauline, recently walked away and

    I've read a few novels by Laura Lippman, and this is one of the best. Told from many points of view, it's set in 1995, as Polly appears in the small town of Belleville, Delaware, at the start of the summer. She gets a flat and starts waitressing at the local cafe, where her sunburned shoulders catch the eye of Adam, also new in town. Adam is actually a private investigation and is being paid by someone in Polly's past to track her down, but who is it? Polly, or Pauline, recently walked away and abandoned her husband Gregg, and her little daughter Jani, but it's not Gregg who has hired Adam. Just what happened before she met Gregg - who or what was she running from then? And can Adam keep from falling in love with her? The strength of this novel is in its characterisation. We hear things from Polly's and Adam's point of view, as well as from lots of other ones - even minor ones like a man who owns a video shop in Baltimore, and the sister of Polly's colleague Cath. This makes the world Lippman has created ever more real, and as the twists and turns of the plot play out, you really want to know what happens next. Brilliant stuff!

  • karen

    review to come!

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    super excited to be reading and reviewing this for l.a. review of books!!!

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