Friday, March 2, 2018

Book Review: Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Sunburn
Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: Hardcover; 304
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Source: Harper Collins / TLC Book Tours
Genre: Mystery / Thriller

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of a mystery/thriller that features well made characters and plenty of tension!

A Bustle, Entertainment Weekly and PopSugar Most Anticipated Book of 2018. 

"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 

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?

Inspired by James M. Cain’s masterpieces The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce, Sunburn is a tantalizing modern noir from the incomparable Laura Lippman. 

What to say first about this book? Ah! Lippman came into my life, way back when I was a new blogger, when I ended up with the 11th book in her Tess Monaghan series for review. I remember being a little worried that I wouldn't be able to pick things up so late in the story line, but there was Lippman's exceptional writing picking me up and taking me on a journey anyway. I ended up loving that book, and I've been a fan of Lippman ever since! So imagine my excitement when I was asked to be on the tour for Sunburn. It's been long enough since I read one of her books that I was eager to see if her writing was what I remembered from before. Oh, it was. You'd best prepare for some gushing.

It's so impressive to me when a book can completely command your attention from the first few sentences, and Sunburn accomplishes that easily. Polly's story, while you don't know who she is just yet, pulls you into its web. I found myself utterly invested in this woman, and unable to look away as everything she'd planned slowly fell into place. I know that I'm being vague, and you can understand that it's a purposeful vagueness. There are just too many things that I can't give away, without ruining your enjoyment of this spiderweb of a book. Just trust me when I say that Polly's story is extremely layered, and totally worth taking the time to uncover.

Plus, while the whole plot thread is just deliciously mysterious, it's really the characters themselves who steal the show. Polly is the perfect unreliable narrator. She's easy to love and hate in equal measures, depending on what is newly being revealed to the reader about her. She's shrouded in doubt, yet with enough humanness to make her likable. Adam, on the other hand, is this rock in shifting sands. He's strong, reliable, and yet slowly being eroded by our dear Polly. As the book reaches a climax, and Adam's real plight comes to light, I'm sure you'll find yourself just as stunned as I was. There's a lot to love about how well laid out this book really is.

So why the four star rating, rather than five? I can easily pin that on the fact that the ending, while completely plausible, didn't really suit my tastes. That doesn't mean that it won't be perfect for most readers. That doesn't mean it isn't an excellent ending overall. That's just me, being my nitpicky reader self, being completely transparent with you. I didn't love the ending of this. Still, it's a totally solid and enjoyable read. The twists and turns are wonderful, and I'm still impressed. Lippman hasn't lost her edge, and I hope she never does.


FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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