Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062389923
Hardcover, $26.99, 292 pages
Suspense writer Laura Lippman is best known for her crime novels set in the city of Baltimore. The city is as much of a character in her novels as the people she writes about. Her newest novel, Sunburn, leaves Baltimore for the small beach town of Belleville, Delaware, a tourist town that booms during the summer months, and reverts to its small town ways the rest of the year. A town Polly describes as "put together from other town's leftovers."
While passing through town Polly stops into the High-Ho tavern and decides to get a job there as a waitress. Polly has just abandoned her husband and three-year-old daughter while on a beach vacation. What kind of woman does that?
Adam wanders into the High-Ho and gets a job as a cook in the kitchen. He has a reason for being there too- he is watching Polly for a client. Who is the client? Is it Polly's abandoned husband?
Slowly we get more information about Polly. She has a past, and many secrets to hide. She is adept at manipulating people to do what she wants, without them even knowing that they are doing it, and being grateful to help her.
Trouble begins for Adam when he falls in love with Polly. He struggles with his secrets, with his sense of responsibility to his client. Even with what he knows about Polly, he stiil loves her.
Polly has fallen in love with Adam too. Their casual affair becomes serious and then deadly when a death occurs in the town. Was it an accident or murder?
Lippman is at the top of her game with Sunburn. Her inspiration for Sunburn is the work of fellow Baltimore native James M. Cain, whose classic novels include Mildred Pierce, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Double Indemity. Lippman includes elements from all three novels in her story- an insurance man, illicit lovers, manipulative women, even the restaurant angle- and are all brilliantly woven together in this spellbinding novel.
Sunburn is the perfect book to take on vacation; I read it on a three-hour flight from Florida to New York, and never looked up once until we landed and I had finished the book. The ending is a stunner!
Polly is a fascinating character, as she "fixes her gaze on the goal and never loses sight of it". The big question is what exactly is Polly's goal? Crime noir is frequently the purview of male protagonists, so it is intriguing to have a femme fatale running the show.
Sunburn is easily one of the best novels I have read in recent memory, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries and good fiction.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Laura Lippman's tour. The rest of her tour stops are here:
Tuesday, February 20th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Wednesday, February 21st: Instagram: @Jessicamap
Thursday, February 22nd: Instagram: @hippiechickreads
Friday, February 23rd: Instagram: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Monday, February 26th: Instagram: @writersdream
Wednesday, February 28th: Instagram: @ACaffeinatedBibliophile
Thursday, March 1st: Instagram: @acouplereads
Tuesday, February 20th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, February 21st: The Book Diva’s Reads
Thursday, February 22nd: Into the Hall of Books
Friday, February 23rd: bookchickdi
Monday, February 26th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Tuesday, February 27th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, February 28th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, March 6th: A Book a Week
Wednesday, March 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, March 12th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, March 13th: Clues & Reviews
Wednesday, March 14th: Julie’s Bookshelf
Thursday, March 15th: Thoughts On This ‘n That