REVIEW: SUNBURN By Laura Lippman


Published Feb 20, 2018 by William Morrow 

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 that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.


Isn’t that cover fantastic?! It’s what drew me to take a closer look at this one and then to go against my self-imposed ban on psychological suspense/thrillers. I’ve been wanting to read Laura Lippman for a few years so this seemed like the perfect time to give her a try.

From the opening pages I was very taken with the whole cat and mouse vibe this story has going on! Within the first 50 pages I realized it reminded me of the tone of The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (loved). That is, no one was especially likable or trustworthy but I couldn’t stop reading . In Sunburn, you have Polly AKA Pauline and Adam, both with rather shady pasts and even murkier intentions in their current situations. In an effort to be concise and quick I’ll sum up my main points about what I really enjoyed…

  • The web of deceit playing out between Polly and Adam left me off balance with not knowing who to trust
  • The story is told in alternating perspectives (POVs) between Polly and Adam with a sprinkling of other POVs which surprisingly didn’t bother me
  • The instability of the characters….who was playing who?
  • Lippman’s ability to tease the reader with tidbits thrown here and there, creating heightened confusion and layers of questions
  • Small town setting
  • This story felt original and had me guessing about everyone’s motives and end games
  • The ending…loved it and NOT what I expected.

What you should know before diving into this one is, it’s a SLOW BURN of the highest level. I’m not saying that in a negative way, only that if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller this isn’t it. This novel is high on introspection depending on the POV and Lippman takes her time peeling away the layers of the characters and story. It works. I think many readers are going to love this and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for  psychological suspense with an underlying mystery and an intriguing game of cat and mouse

Many thanks to William Morrow via Edelweiss for my copy



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30 thoughts on “REVIEW: SUNBURN By Laura Lippman

    1. Thanks Sam, don’t worry about the slower pace, it serves it’s purpose by creating tension and it will definitely lull you into thinking you know where things are going:) Key word thinking😉I think you’ll like it!!


  1. I loved this one too and you know how I feel about psych thrillers these days. This one felt different. And others have recommended Kind Worth Killing as well, love hearing it’s similar to Sunburn…it’s on my list and sounds like I’ll probably like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we’re both super hesitant (skeptical) about psych thrillers and that’s why I was unsure about this one and then really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. For me, this is a true psych thriller!!


  2. I love a good small town setting. I have a copy of this one but I have two books I have to get to first. I love the cover too. It is probably the first thing that caught my eye when I requested a review copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fab review, Renee. I wasn’t sure about this one but you’ve convinced me. I don’t mind slow as long as it’s steady and going somewhere. Sometimes I find a slow, steady book can have the same page-turning factor even I’m not perched on the edge of my seat.

    Liked by 1 person

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