SUNBURN by Laura Lippman has a very summery cover. Very! Makes me feel the sizzle and heat of the burn. But it’s the novel’s premise that drew me in and convinced me to read it. I can’t ignore a young mother walking away and leaving her family on the beach. Actually leaving as in I’m out of here leaving!
This fine psychological suspense novel takes place in my old stomping grounds. Most of the story lives in a very small out of- the -way town in Delaware. Lippman has named the town Belleville. I have checked and can’t find a town with that name. And I sure don’t remember that name. However, I grew up in Seaford, Delaware and I know small back-water towns. Towns on the way to the Eastern Shore beaches. Laura Lippman has nailed the atmosphere of these towns like nobody’s business. You have to have lived there to “get” it. And I have.
Adam and Polly 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 he 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.
” In an unpromising town near the Maryland shore two souls begin a cat and mouse game that will lead to betrayal and murder. One is playing a long game. But which one?”
I don’t read a lot of mysteries. This is more of a psychological thriller. But it is also a murder mystery. Lippman has raised the bar for other mystery writers with SUNBURN. I truly didn’t know what to expect. And what I got was more not knowing. The characters are complex. The story is compelling. People have already been murdered when the novel begins. But why, and how?
I know those little no-nothing towns. One diner, a gas station, and a bar. Maybe two old coots at that bar. Nobody stops unless they have to. So why would a young woman want to live there and start over???
For those of you who want a great mystery for the beach, toss this novel into your beach bag. You won’t be sorry.
has written a slew of books. She’s been nominated for more than fifty awards for crime fiction and won more than twenty. Now a perennial New York times bestselling author, she lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.
My review copy was sent compliments of William Morrow Books, an imprint or Harper Collins. I loved the book!