March 10

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Every fabulous holiday (and I use holiday in the true sense where you simply Chill.Out.) requires some must-haves.  Cocktails (free-flowing naturally) closely followed by beaut folk, a tower of books to read, great locale, fancy digs, delicious food, sunshine, pool/beach, yada yada…

I have just returned from said holiday where sunshine and books abounded and my first post-luxe-holiday decision was what book to review first?  Alright, maybe my first decision was to do a very late start on Feb Fast in March.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman was one of my fave holiday reads. I flew through it in a day, pool side because once I opened this beauty,  I was a goner.

Embarrassingly, I have not read anything by Lippman before this, but I am hitting my local bookshop this week to remedy this situation because she writes like a dream.

Sunburn is a thriller and it hooks you in at the opening when we meet a very sunburned Polly sitting at a bar.  Adam is sitting at the same bar and says he’s in the same dead-end town for the same reason as Polly – he’s simply passing through. Yet here they sit, eyeing their surrounds and each other with suspicion before they both end up taking jobs in the bar to tide themselves over.

Of all the things woven into this story, truth is not one of them but it makes a showy appearance right at the end.  You find out pretty quickly that Polly and Adam are tied together not because of location, but because Adam has been hired to find Polly – and he is not the only one.

Lippman’s thriller is not like the usual ones – you know the stories when you finally discover what the hell is really going on, you feel relief, you’re glad it is over, happy that you can breath again.  Sunburn is different because when all is revealed, when Polly’s truth emerges, you simply want the story to go on, wishing d.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e.l.y things were different.

What makes Lippman so good is the way she writes about her characters.  These are developed, interesting, nuanced people and she carefully and masterfully builds a gentle sense of suspense around every one of them, luring you deeper and deeper into their lives with each page.  The challenge with a story like this is you genuinely like the main characters but you know somewhere, somehow it is all going to end rather badly.

And it does.

How badly?

Well that is for you to find out when you read it.

And that is my two cents worth.