Review: Sunburn


By Laura Lippman
William Morrow & Company, 9780062389923, February 2018, 304pp.

The Short of It:

Manipulation & motive will keep you guessing with this one.

The Rest of It:

Sunburn has gotten a lot of buzz and for good reason. It has a cold, rather calculated protagonist. One that you can’t quite figure out which makes this read hard to put down.

Pauline walks away from her husband and child while on vacation. She heads to a small town, finds a job in a small little bar, puts herself up in a modest apartment, reinvents herself as “Polly”,  and then… falls in love.

Why has she walked away from her family? Why has a private investigator been hired to track her? Who is paying for his services? What is Pauline hiding? Plenty.

What makes this a fascinating read is Pauline. She is like a cat. She always lands on her feet no matter what she’s been dealt but she’s not always likable. Guys seem to like her, which she uses to her advantage but women? No. Women do not like her and this is where she finds herself challenged.

I think Lippman spent quite a bit of time developing Pauline’s character. She’s very complex. I found myself not liking her but then I would turn a page and I’d get a glimmer of something similar to like. She is a very strong character and personality and yet there is a vulnerability to her which makes the story plausible.

Sunburn is not a perfect read. There are some stereotypes and moments where you’ll question some of the plot lines,  but all this year I have been reading books that have been pegged as page-turners and this one definitely falls into that category. I guess you could call it a mystery but I didn’t see it as such.

That said, I liked it quite a bit.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

19 thoughts on “Review: Sunburn”

  1. I was so happy to see your review this morning. This is not my usual read. At all. But, I’m in the middle of this book. I really like it. The story takes place in my old stomping grounds. Books are never set in Delaware. Well, almost never. Very atmospheric. Thanks for a great review.

    1. I read another book by Lippman which I thought was just okay so at first I was hesitant to even try this one but I got really into it. She does capture that small town feel.

  2. Everyone seems to be loving this book, even if it’s not perfect. I thought I had a copy but I don’t. I guess I need to buy it the next time I’m in a book store.

    1. Oh yeah, definitely not perfect and your feelings about protagonist will swing drastically many times before the last page but it was one of those enjoyable reads because it’s not as predictable as you think.

  3. I’m still on the fence about this one. However, I’m leaning to the ‘I’ll read it’ side – does that count? LOL

  4. I always love your reviews…this one is no exception. Plus it takes place near me…and I love reading good books about this area…

  5. Terrific review; I loved the way I did not want to put this one down. Definite sociopath yet , on occasion, I felt sorry for her.

  6. Yeah this might be a good summer book for me. Perfect for reading on the back deck! BTW did you see that Robyn Harding who wrote The Party has a new one coming out in July. It’s sure to be a page-turner …. called Her Pretty Face. Hmm. I’ll probably have to check it out.

  7. I haven’t read any Lippman in a while – sounds like it’s time to pick her up again.

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