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Sunburn
2018
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A pair of travelers, one of whom may be playing a dangerous psychological game with the other, embark on a steamy summertime affair that is thrown into chaos by dark secrets and a suspicious death, in a story inspired by the classics of James M. Cain. By the New York Times best-selling author of And When She Was Good. 125,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Lippman is a natural storyteller at the height of her powers.” - Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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.

- (HARPERCOLL)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* It's no coincidence that the books of James M. Cain get a shout-out in Lippman's new novel. This story about a bad girl and the man who falls in love with her could easily be set in the 1940s or '50s (it's actually set in the mid-'90s). Our lovers meet in a small Delaware town; she's a customer at a restaurant-slash-bar, and he's sitting a couple of stools over. They make small talk, lightly flirtatious banter, and they wind up sharing an attraction. But here's the thing: the bad girl, who calls herself Polly, has a past. And their meeting is no chance encounter; the man (it's tempting to call him a patsy), Adam, has followed her to this small town. Why? For whom is Adam working? What secrets is Polly keeping hidden away? Lippman answers these questions, and several more besides, but in an especially tantalizing manner, parceling out information slowly, a bit here, a bit there, letting us spend some time processing a new revelation before dropping another one on us. 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. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lippman's star continues to rise, and her latest is already attracting a lot of buzz. Expect that to grow as the pub date draws closer. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

Taking her inspiration from noir master James M. Cain, top-drawer thriller writer Lippman departs not simply from her beloved Tess Monaghan series but from the style and setting of her previous work. At a small tavern in Belleville, DE, Adam and flame-haired Polly pause in their travels and ignite an affair so tempestuous and so grounded in secrets that when a suspicious death occurs, it's hard to figure out how they might be implicated. With a 125,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Library Journal Reviews

After reworking Harper Lee's universe in Wilde Lake, the author gives the star-crossed souls of James M. Cain's fiction the Lippman treatment. Hence, desperate lovers Polly and Adam meet in a sleepy Delaware not-quite-beach town and harbor secrets there and in Baltimore. They circle each other warily, but it's fated they'll end up together. Their affair is threatened by the things they conceal from each other and by enemies lurking all around. Lippman's complicated femme fatale heroine and conflicted hero are more layered than one would expect from noir protagonists, and her nuanced characterizations extend beyond the couple at the center of the story. With an economy of words, she creates three-dimensional characters such as Irving, the man who hires Adam to spy on Polly, Cath, the weak link in a love triangle, and Polly's mother-in-law Savannah, who's not quite sure she's grandma material. Lippman's minute observations about modern life, human foibles, and the many faces of love are lagniappes to this tasty feast of a novel. VERDICT Just try to read this fantastic stand-alone from the creator of the "Tess Monaghan" series slowly. Modern noir at its best, it will delight old-movie lovers, satisfy suspense readers, and reward Lippman's legion of fans. [See Prepub Alert, 8/14/17.]—Liz French, Library Journal

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

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