by Laura Lippman

I am a lover of noir in books and film. When I read a review of Sunburn that said it is a modern noir, I knew that I had to read it and would probably love it. I was right. This is an enjoyable psychological thriller that will keep you interested and guessing till the end.

Polly and Adam meet in a bar in Belleville, Delaware. They are both there for a reason. Polly is running away from something and someone and Dan has his own reason for being there.  Both of them are just passing through this small town yet they are strangely drawn to each other. Polly’s cool, quiet and aloof demeanor both excites and unnerves Adam.  Instead of moving on, they stay for the summer and are soon engulfed in an intense, steamy, passionate affair. Although Adam doesn’t quite trust Polly, he can’t stay away from her. As the summer progresses they begin a cat and mouse game that soon turns deadly when someone dies. Was it an accident? Neither Adam nor Polly is who they seem to be. Is Polly a cold blooded killer or a victim?  Why is Adam, an adventure seeking, globe trotting traveler, there in the small town of Belleview?

It has been said that James M. Cain’s novella, The Postman Always Rings Twice, was the inspiration for this book. As in some of the Cain books I have read, the man instantly falls for the woman and will do almost anything, even murder, to keep her. Like Postman, this book is set in a diner, the female character is a femme fatale who is irresistible to men and might have been involved in planning a murder.

The twists and turns in Sunburn will keep you guessing and the ending was unexpected. If you like noir and psychological suspense, you will want to read Sunburn.

I listened to Sunburn on audio and Susan Bennett’s narration was a perfect fit for the noir tone and feel of Sunburn.

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