by Lippman, Laura

A pair of travelers, one of whom may be playing a dangerous psychological game with the other, embark on a steamy summertime affair that is thrown into chaos by dark secrets and a suspicious death, in a story inspired by the classics of James M. Cain. By the New York Times best-selling author of And When She Was Good. 125,000 first printing.

*Starred Review* It's no coincidence that the books of James M. Cain get a shout-out in Lippman's new novel. This story about a bad girl and the man who falls in love with her could easily be set in the 1940s or '50s (it's actually set in the mid-'90s). Our lovers meet in a small Delaware town; she's a customer at a restaurant-slash-bar, and he's sitting a couple of stools over. They make small talk, lightly flirtatious banter, and they wind up sharing an attraction. But here's the thing: the bad girl, who calls herself Polly, has a past. And their meeting is no chance encounter; the man (it's tempting to call him a patsy), Adam, has followed her to this small town. Why? For whom is Adam working? What secrets is Polly keeping hidden away? Lippman answers these questions, and several more besides, but in an especially tantalizing manner, parceling out information slowly, a bit here, a bit there, letting us spend some time processing a new revelation before dropping another one on us. Ingeniously constructed and extremely suspenseful, the novel keeps us guessing right up until its final moments. Lippman is a popular and dependable writer, and this homage to classic noir showcases a writer at the height of her powers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lippman's star continues to rise, and her latest is already attracting a lot of buzz. Expect that to grow as the pub date draws closer. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A redheaded waitress, a good-looking private eye, insurance fraud, arson, rough sex, and a long hot summer: some like it noir.With her 23rd novel, Lippman (Wilde Lake, 2016, etc.) pays tribute to a literary predecessor who, like her, began his study of crime as a journalist at the Baltimore Sun—James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce. Lippman's version of the sexy stranger passing through town starts with Polly Costello (that's one of her names, anyway) on a beach vacation in Fenwick, Delaware, with her husband and 3-year-old daughter, Jani. One morning she says she needs a break from the sun, then grabs her duffel and heads down the road. "What kind of woman walks out on her family? Gregg knows. The kind of woman he picked up in a bar four years ago precisely because she had that kind of wildcat energy.…She scratched, she bit, she was up for anything, anywhere, anytime." Actually, poor Gregg, suddenly a single dad, doesn't know the half of it. Someone who does have a much fuller picture of Polly's background is Adam, a good-looking, Oberlin- and culinary-institute-educated fellow she runs into at a bar her first day on the lam. Neither Adam nor Polly is candid about what has brought them to stools at the High-Ho, but both stick around and get jobs there, as chef and waitress. By the time their connection in the bedroom blossoms into something more serious, the skeletons in the closet have been joined by fresh new ones. Lippman's trademark is populating a whodunit with characters so believably complicated that they don't need the mystery to carry the book. If that's not quite the case here, you can tell how much fun the author had updating the classic noir tropes, and it's contagious. Plotty, page-turning pleasure plus instructions on how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich and how to stab a man in the heart. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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