Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow, 2011
Hardcover, 352 pages
First Line: They throw him out when he falls off the barstool.
Something happened one summer in Baltimore that made five best friends go their separate ways throughout the rest of school and on into their adult lives. When one of them dies and the rest slowly come together for the funeral, they begin to learn that the past never stays buried. It must be dealt with or there will be unwelcome consequences.
Once again Lippman does an excellent job at building suspense (just what happened that summer???) and diving into character and motivation. Those remembered days of childhood are every bit as clearly delineated as the present day trials the characters all have as grownups.
This book is a bit of a rarity for me-- and it's all due to Laura Lippman's skill as a writer. You see, I really didn't give a rap for any of the characters. There's not one single person in that book that I liked. If this leads to you believe that I hated this book, I wouldn't be surprised. But I did like it. Lippman makes that mysterious thing that happened on that long ago summer so compelling that I couldn't stop reading. I had to find out what happened and which of the characters were responsible.
Normally this character-driven reader prefers to have at least one character to like, respect, or admire. In the case of The Most Dangerous Thing, I kept thinking to myself, "You're all one big batch of messed-up people. What did you do to get that way?" Lippman answered my question in one beautifully written page after another.