Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman

Title: The Most Dangerous Thing
Author: Laura Lippman
ISBN: 9780061706516
Publisher: William Morrow, 2011
Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Suspense
Rating: A-
Source: Publicist

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.


  1. I've just read one of her books and liked it. This sounds also good.

  2. Cathy - Like you I usually need to find at least one character I like in order to really plunge into a book. I'm glad that for you, this one's plot and mystery were so good that you were caught up.

  3. I really have loved a lot of Lippman's standalone books, and really want to read this one. I think the woman is gifted at creating characters that are sort of repugnant in one way or another! I can't wait to read this one, and your review only entices me further!

  4. I received this book to review also.

    I love Laura Lippman.

    THANKS for the great review.


  5. The rarity for me is that this is such a hackneyed plot and yet some writers can make it all seem new. That you could overlook the fact that none of the characters were likeable really recommends this book for me, but then I'm a Laura Lippmann fan so I would probably read it anyway.

  6. This one is on my shelves! Can't wait! Here are the books I wrote about: Harvee/Book Dilettante

  7. Well, as it is Ms Lippman, I tend to believe what you say :)

  8. Mystica-- She's one of my favorite writers.

    Margot-- So am I!

    Zibilee-- I think that's what Lippman wants to do: show us flawed characters that aren't really likable, but to fascinate us with them anyway.

    Elizabeth-- I hope you like it!

    Barbara-- Yes, some writers can take something old and tattered and make it seem brand-new again.

    Harvee-- I hope you enjoy it!


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