This is a modern noir novel that pays homage to the great books of James M. Cain. Like The Postman Always Rings Twice or Double Indemnity, it focuses on two lovers, Polly and Adam, each of whom has closely held secrets that are revealed very slowly as the book progresses.
The story takes place in Belleville, a small town in Delaware, forty-five miles from the beach, and where nearly everyone is simply passing through. As the book opens, a sunburned Polly is nursing a drink in the High-Ho, a bar/restaurant that, like most of the town, is down at the heels. Adam spots her and moves in slowly, but the connection is made, and the two of them will wind up staying in Belleville and working at the High-Ho, long after each of them had planned to be well down the road.
As the summer progresses, someone will die, and the death will have critical implications for Adam and Polly and for their relationship. Other than that, I'm really reluctant to say anything more about the book. Lippman has constructed the plot very carefully, and peels back the curtain slowly and deliberately. To say more would reveal things that the reader should delight in discovering for him- or herself.
Suffice it to say that I think this is Lippman's best book yet and one that actually stands the comparison to those of James M. Cain. Anyone who is a fan of those classic novels will not want to miss this one. One of my favorite reads of the summer thus far. (less)