It’s an explicit salute to Cain — at one point one of its main characters takes certain inspiration from the classic film versions of Postman and Indemnity — and a more than worthy one ... It’s tough to say very much about Sunburn without risking spoilers, and this book deserves not to be spoiled. It’s a virtuoso performance of crafting plot, point of view and voice to reveal some things to the reader while withholding others to create a decadent, delicious tension.
Laura Lippman's versatility as a writer ascends to a new level with her excellent 22nd novel, Sunburn, which ignites as a classic hard-boiled mystery and contemporary domestic thriller ... Lust, deceit and the simple quest for happiness rule the plot as Sunburn works well as an homage to Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Anne Tyler. Lippman delves into a study of contrasts with a story that's as cynical as it is hopeful, a look at hearts of darkness coupled with a domestic thriller ... The ingenious plot evolves into myriad twists that are as believable as they are surprising ... Lippman's tight control on Sunburn delivers one of the year's most intriguing mysteries.
Sunburn, though cool and twisty, has more heart than expected. It’s generous in other ways, too. The particular atmosphere of unlovely Belleville is deftly conveyed ... People move in and out of the narrative with their own baggage and preoccupations. What they choose to tell us is very subjective and not always directly relevant, and this clamor of voices gives the novel satisfying depth and texture. There’s a sense here that we’re brushing up against many lives, many versions of the truth.