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Sunburn: A Novel Paperback – July 31, 2018
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“Cool and twisty.” -- New York Times Book Review
“A masterful mix from a total pro.” -- People
“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
“Suspenseful as hell, and she writes like a dream [...] Lippman’s always good, but this is a cut above.” -- Stephen King
“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 (starred review)
“This is Lippman at her observant, fiercest best, a force to be reckoned with in crime fiction.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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.” -- Booklist (starred review)
“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
“The ingenious plot evolves into myriad twists that are as believable as they are surprising [...] Sunburn delivers one of the year’s most intriguing mysteries.” -- Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
“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
“Sunburn was dark but not too dark, thrilling, richly descriptive with an utterly compelling protagonist...I read this book at a furious pace and never forgot about it all year. Sunburn was a reminder that storytelling matters and good storytelling is all too rare.” -- Roxane Gay
“spellbinding [...] this corkscrew of a book, with its psychological insights and sensual charisma, proves once again that Ms. Lippman, as a writer, is sui generis.” -- Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
“Great book. Well paced. Beautifully observed details. Interesting characters and nuance in the right places. [...] Thoroughly enjoyed this book and the protagonist who is flawed and brilliant and ruthless and unapologetic.” -- Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger
“A tantalising, ingeniuously constructed page-turner.” -- The Guardian
“Grips like the classic Hollywood black-and-white movie thrillers of the 1930s and 1940s. Sunburn unsettles from its first page.” -- The Times (London)
“Note-perfect noir...not to be missed.” -- Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Dare Me and The Fever
“A pacy, pithy modern take on the noir tradition...terrific entertainment.” -- Sunday Mirror
“For once the blurb doesn’t over-promise. Lippman writes the best opening pages of any thriller so far this year.” -- Daily Mail (UK)
From the Back Cover
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 just passing through. Yet she stays. And he stays—drawn to the 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?
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 31, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006238998X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062389985
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.72 x 5.31 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #188,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Polly has a past that slowly comes to light in snippets here and snippets there. Sometimes I was begging for the pieces to just all be on the table, so the story could progress. Though this book comes in at under 300 pages, I felt the pace was a little slower at times than it needed to be.
Both characters were not really that likable, but that is something I can deal with if the plot moves fast enough.
Though I gave this book 3 stars I enjoyed it, but not as much as I do most suspense novels. However, I enjoyed the author's writing and would lend this book out for those who want a shorter summer read for upcoming vacations!
Sunburn starts of very, very slowly (which is why I almost put it down) and only gains momentum after page 70. The problem is that the main characters aren't particularly interesting and the author tries to gain suspense by slowly -- oh, so slowly -- revealing their background stories. I know the old Zane Gray technique of having a dead body on page one is no longer in favor but still having a handsome Fred Macmurray type notice a sun tanned redhead . . .
Bottom line: wait for the movie or limited series on tv.
I love Laura Lippman’s books, although for whatever reason I haven’t read her in a few years. Sunburn is such a delight, such a wonderful series of puzzles only solved at the end, that it actually completely took my mind off the truly dismal state of the world. I loved it! And I will go back now and read the books she wrote that I have missed.
Top reviews from other countries
The next bit of this review may constitute a bit of a spoiler as I have to mention how I feel about the ending, which caused me to knock a star off.
The ending. Nothing, but nothing happened. No surprises. No one turning out to be anything other than how they had been portrayed throughout. I closed the book with an enormous feeling of wondering why on earth anyone would want to read this and what the point of it was. One of the dullest, worst endings I can remember....actually, I can't remember it. Two days later and I've struggled to write this review as I've forgotten most of it.
This is neo-noir yet as fresh as summer rain (I say with relief that we've finally got some this morning -- a hot Scotland is just unnatural). Sure it's got a sexy woman with secrets, private investigators and all kinds of people out to get something and damn the consequences. Lippman takes these sometimes self-conscious tropes and plays with them. Polly actually discovers noir during a bad marriage and it's literally a lifesaver for her. Adam is no Sam Spade and hurrah for that, but he's no Walter Neff either.
It's an irresistible joy to watch two people fall for each other when they're not sure they can trust each other and everything is against them -- but you're not sure what's true and neither are they. Lippman alternates between a variety of characters from chapter to chapter and you learn things you didn't know as well as wrong assumptions they're making about others. Sometimes you just want to shout at the characters (or maybe that's just me).
The problem is, when a man wants her, he usually won't stop trying to get her. They wear her down, men. She starts off by taking pity on them, ends up feeling sorry for herself.
It's a special art, asking people to do things, yet making it seem as if you never asked at all.
How had she even figured out what he was planning to do? A witch, that one. She's a witch.
Sometimes he used to wake up in the middle of the night and find her looking at him. The light from the streetlamp threw a stripe across her eyes, and it was as if she were wearing a mask that allowed her to read his every thought.
Maybe she should write an advice book for men, one that tells them everything they want to hear, as opposed to all those books for women, which tell them to be the opposite of what they are, no matter what that is.
I could keep quoting but this gives you a great idea: lean, mean, addictive -- up to the last pages you won't be sure how things will go. What a pleasure.
This is billed a noir thriller and has lots of recommendations (Stephen King is quoted on the back). Overall the style is great, I liked the plot and it was a good summer book to read as you could feel the heat from this small town coming off the page. The main problem with this book for me is that the two main characters are meant to have this intense passionate love, and that I didn't see at all. They said they loved each other but it wasn't shown and as that is a key reason why they do what they do, I felt I should have believed in them more. Good overall though.