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Cover: 'Sunburn'

Staff Review: "Sunburn" by Laura Lippman


Polly Costello is a striking, self-possessed woman with a complicated past who left her husband and young daughter behind at the beach, claiming to need a break from the sun, but she’s really looking for a fresh start. She stops in a bar in a small Delaware town for a drink and meets Adam, an intelligent, handsome man also just passing through, and sparks fly amid the banter. Neither intends to stay, but soon Polly is a waitress and Adam is a cook at the High Ho, and Polly is settling into a new life on her own. Adam and Polly are drawn to each other even though both have secrets that should compel them to keep their distance. Will the attraction win out before Polly’s past and their secrets destroy it? This modern noir, set in the 1990's, takes classic elements of noir—with a strong nod to author James M. Cain—and artfully updates them in this carefully calibrated pag-turner. She’s a bad girl—or at the very least a mistreated one—and he’s the earnest man caught in her web. (Then again, maybe he’s not so earnest.) Each revelation adds to the growing tension as motives and the truth become increasingly difficult to pin down. Recommended for fans of classic noir (both literary and cinematic) and contemporary suspense.

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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