St. Olaf College | Office of the President


By Laura Lippman

William Morrow, 2018

Sunburn - Laura Lippman

Do you love the novels of James M. Cain? I’m talking Double Indemnity or The Postman Only Rings Twice.  Were you entranced by Kathleen Turner in the film Body Heat, or by Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction? Then you should read Sunburn.

Noir fiction gets reinvented for every generation, but there is a distinctively American subgenre that persists.  Laura Lippman is aware of the tradition: she references the novels of James M. Cain both in the setting of Sunburn and in the behavior of its femme fatale, Polly. She’s compelling. She’s slightly off. More than slightly. But even more compelling, the more you know. That becomes Adam’s problem.

Don’t start this great read late at night, because you will be up all night.

Back to the Bookshelf