The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman.
In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know—everyone, that is, except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she’s bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life.
Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl—assistance that leads to a job at the city’s afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.
Cleo Sherwood was a young African-American woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie—and the dead woman herself. Maddie’s going to find the truth about Cleo’s life and death. Cleo’s ghost, privy to Maddie’s poking and prying, wants to be left alone.
Maddie’s investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life—a jewelry store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people—including the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.
About the Author
Since Laura Lippman's debut in 1997, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the "essential" crime writers of the last 100 years. Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.
“[Lippman] only seems to only be getting better.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“Lippman’s fans will devour this sophisticated crime novel, which captures the era’s zeitgeist while painting a striking portrait of unapologetic female ambition.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The story is bigger than the crime, and the crime is bigger than its solution, making Lippman’s skill as a mystery novelist work as icing on the cake. The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama...”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“...as much a mystery as it is a stylized look at life in 1966 Baltimore. Another must read from Lippman.”
“Riveting…This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the ’60s…Lippman’s critical acclaim and sales figures continue to climb, and this genre-crossing thriller will extend her reach still further.”
— Booklist (starred review)
Praise for Sunburn:
“Suspenseful as hell, and she writes like a dream. . . . Lippman’s always good, but this is a cut above.”
— Stephen King
Praise for Sunburn: “Every time Laura Lippman comes out with a new book, I get chills because I know I am back in the hands of the master...Sunburn is her dark, gleaming noir gem. Read it.”
— Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl
Praise for Sunburn: “Fast-paced and unpredictable, Sunburn is a smart, sly riff on love in a world of trouble that’s puzzling until the very last piece falls into place.”
— O, the Oprah Magazine
“A masterful mix from a total pro.”