The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
Morrow • $25.99 • ISBN 9780061706516
on sale August 23, 2011

It's no secret that I'm a big Laura Lippman fan. I got my introduction to her work with the fantastic I'd Know You Anywhere (gushed about here), then promptly picked up/devoured What the Dead Know.

In general, I prefer stand-alone suspense novels to series, so I was thrilled to learn that Lippman has a September book coming out that is indeed a stand alone—and not part of her series about Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan.

The Most Dangerous Thing alternates between the present and the 1970s. It's about five childhood friends who come together again after one of their group dies in a car accident . . . and a secret comes out.

Here's an early scene from the friend's funeral:

Gwen was spared funerals as a child and accepted this practice, as she accepted so many of her parents' practices, as the inarguably right thing to do. Certainly, it never occurred to her to bring Annabelle to Go-Go's visitation, and she is shocked to see how many young children are here. More disturbing, they are gathered around the open casket, inspecting Go-Go with a respectful but palpable excitement. A dead person! This is what a dead person looks like! In the fact of their bravery, how can Gwen not come forward and look as well?

A dead person this may well be, but it is not the boy she remembers and not only because he is thirty years older than the Go-Go who lives in her memory. This person is too still, his features too composed. Go-Go was never still.

"Gwen." Doris Halloran holds her hands tightly, peers into her face, as if nearsighted. "Pretty little Gwen. You look wonderful."

She does? She doesn't feel as if she looks wonderful. True, she is thin. She has no appetite as of late. But she is pretty sure that the lack of food has made her face gaunt, her hair dull and dry. Then again, maybe it's all relative. She looks better than Go-Go, for example. And better than Mrs. Halloran, whose face is white and puffy in a way that cannot be explained by mere grieving. Her eyes are like little raisins deep in an uncooked loaf, her mouth ringed by wrinkles.

Sound like something you would like? What are you reading today?

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