Sunburn is a modern rendition of a classic noir crime novel. It is the summer of 1995, and Private Investigator Adam Bosk follows the woman he was hired to investigate, Polly Costello, to a sleepy Delaware town. They begin a torrid love affair, and a cunning game of cat-and-mouse unfolds. Polly is a formidably complicated femme fatale, and the plot slow-burns for awhile, then ignites. This retro novel has it all: seduction, deception, corruption, greed, murder, betrayal, and plenty of moral ambiguity. One of Lippman’s best. For fans of psychological thrillers, hardboiled detective novels and classic noir.
Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by Bustle, Popsugar, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Seattle Times, Book Riot, LitHub, BookPage, and Paperback Paris.
"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.
“Suspenseful as hell, and she writes like a dream [...] Lippman’s always good, but this is a cut above.”
“A masterful mix from a total pro.”
“Cool and twisty.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Modern noir at its best, it will delight old-movie lovers, satisfy suspense readers, and reward Lippman’s legion of fans.”
“You can tell how much fun the author had updating the classic noir tropes, and it’s contagious. Plotty, page-turning pleasure.”
“This is Lippman at her observant, fiercest best, a force to be reckoned with in crime fiction.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”