Polly and Adam are drawn toward each other like magnets, despite each of them knowing it’s a very bad idea. Polly has abandoned her family and is running away from (or perhaps towards?) something, what it is isn’t exactly clear. Adam has secrets too, his boss has sent him to investigate Polly, but why, exactly? The story progresses in a search to answer questions that only seem to lead to more questions, the suspense slowly building to one inevitable outcome.
Set in 1995 Delaware, this book has a noir appeal to it, Polly’s aesthetic is vintage and the restaurant that both Polly and Adam begin working in has a 1950s nostalgia flair. The writing style is also very sparse, reminding me of The Maltese Falcon and other compelling mysteries of that era. The story has many layers to it that must be slowly peeled back until the truth is discovered, the secrets of the past complicating the future, or as one character puts it:
Some people are like rabbit holes, and you can fall a long, long way if you go too far.
Sunburn is spellbinding story that kept me coming back to solve the riddles of Polly’s past and to see what violent ends awaited the people around her. It was clear that the book wasn’t going to end well for someone, the question is who that person is and by what means. Lippman is masterful in building the plot and slowly leaking the details, by the end everything is clear and the story has a resolution, even if it’s not exactly what you were hoping for. I would recommend this for lovers of a femme-fatale noir mysteries, or someone who enjoys a good suspense novel that keeps you guessing until the very last moment.
What would happen if you crossed How I Met Your Mother with What Lies Beneath, moved the story to England and remade it into a book? While that kind of sounds like a mess, these are the comparisons what I kept thinking while reading Lexie Elliott’s first novel.
The body of French beauty Severine has turned up ten years after her disappearance, and the last people to see her were a group of six college friends, who have all gone their own way over the last decade. The re-opening of the case starts to bring them all back together in ways they may or may not welcome, as each is forced to re-live the fateful night they last saw her alive. As secrets begin coming out about each of them, a clock starts ticking down in the rush to uncover the true killer, before someone else is framed for the crime.
This book is not a complex “whodunnit”, as there are only six suspects and many of the clues are known early on, however it kept me turning the pages to find out why they did it, and the details of the crime. The characters are all enjoyable, the story-line has an air of suspense without any cringe-worthy or gruesome moments, and the outcome is neat and clear. I recommend this for anyone looking for a : lite on scary suspense, non-gruesome murder mystery, thriller with good outcome.
I tend to enjoy a psychological thriller: the fast-paced story that you can’t put down and that everyone is talking about; they’re just good reads, even if there are holes/weird endings/characters acting unbelieveably. Which is to say, most psychological thrillers.
I’m not saying “The Woman in the Window” is a perfect story that is untouchable from having holes punched in it, but for me it was richer and more layered than most of the suspense novels I’ve read in the last few years. There are the regular references to Hitchcock films, which I initially thought was gimicky, but as I got into the book, I began to see the connections to the story-line and created a noir richness. There were also a few surprises and twists that in addition to catching me off guard, added meaning to the novel’s central story. I also found the story’s protagonist, Anna, to be sympathetic, even though all she does for half the book is get sloshed and spy on her neighbors, sounds like a good time in theory, right?
Finn’s first novel felt like a story that he had to write, as opposed to those seemingly piggy-backing on the “Gone Girl” style of unreliable narrator story-telling that we’ve seen again since Gillian Flynn’s novel came out in 2012. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a plot-driven thriller, especially if they enjoy and have seen a lot of old movies.