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The Most Dangerous Thing

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  5,224 Ratings  ·  755 Reviews
“One of the best novelists around, period.”
Washington Post

“Lippman has enriched literature as a whole.
Chicago Sun-Times

One of the most acclaimed novelists in America today, Laura Lippman has greatly expanded the boundaries of mystery fiction and psychological suspense with her Tess Monaghan p.i. series and her New York Times bestselling standalone novels (What the Dead K
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by William Morrow (first published 2011)
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Baltimore Blues by Laura LippmanDinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne TylerThe Amateur Marriage by Anne TylerHomicide by David SimonWhat the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
9th out of 169 books — 26 voters
Baltimore Blues by Laura LippmanJacob Have I Loved by Katherine PatersonThe Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine PatersonThe Sugar House by Laura LippmanCharm City by Laura Lippman
Books set in Maryland
22nd out of 101 books — 16 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Will Byrnes
Jun 15, 2016 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing
Something happened in the woods in 1979. A man died, covered in blood, mud, and a litter of secrets. Whodunit? And why?

In late 1970s Baltimore five children join forces, the three Halloran boys and two girls, Mickey and Gwen. They are intimately connected to the death. Decades later an inebriated Gordon Halloran smashes his car into a concrete barrier and his demise summons the remaining four friends back together to face the past.

Laura Lippman has written a can’t-put-it-down page turner as sh
Jul 15, 2011 Jackie rated it really liked it
Laura Lippman admits that this is the most biographical novel she's written, setting it in what is essentially her childhood neighborhood. But that's where the similarity stops--the only secrets she's keeping is how she comes up with such riveting fiction time and time again.

Her characters in "The Most Dangerous Thing", however, have been keeping a secret for many, many years. Something happened to the little neighborhood collection of five once inseparable children that that formed them into th
Jan C
Sep 13, 2011 Jan C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2011
This was good. Pretty much blew me away. Had real difficulty putting it down. Always a good sign. And some real twists and turns. Multiple narrattors - first person plural. We also bounce backwards and forwards in time.

Five kids in a neighborhood. Three brothers, two neighborhood girls. A 5 pointed star - with the center being held by a fellow living in a shack in the woods - they call him Chicken George.

In the Afterword, Lippman notes that she did use the neighborhood she grew up in. Why not?
Sep 12, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
I always find semi-biographical novels fascinating. There's something special that happens when a writer taps a place that she knows that intimately. Usually you avoid those places, for fear of using some detail or character that a friend or family member will point to and say "There! That's me! How could she?" In that way, this is a brave book. The characters are all likable to a point, but also distressingly human. They fail, they make human choices, they acknowledge their mistakes and frailti ...more
Dec 28, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The book is very well written and explores childhood friendships and especially childhood secrets.

The story goes back and forth from the late 70's to the present and the chapters are frequently narrated by a different character. Laura Lippman does a terrific job of writing the story from the viewpoint of each character and the storyline is easy to follow. There is even a cameo by Tess Monaghan!

A quick read with some depth!
Aug 19, 2011 Sandi rated it it was amazing
I recently listened to I'd Know You Anywhere and really liked Lippman's style. I was thrilled to have won this through FirstReads. I just finished reading it and realized that it's not even due to be released for another four days.

I tend to take a book with me to work to read at lunchtime. This is one that I had to leave at home because I knew that I wouldn't get any work done if I took it with me. The past and present story lines mesh together so well and nothing is as it seems.

I really like so
Aug 27, 2011 Deanne rated it did not like it
The Most Dangerous Thing is a book about the lives of five friends and how the events of one summer affected the rest of their lives. Mickey, Gwen, Tim, Sean and “Go-Go” live in the same neighborhood and are all friends in the mid-1970s, but their friendship changes drastically one night. Twenty years later, the death of “Go-Go” brings everyone back together again and they all find themselves asking if their lives would have been more fulfilling if they had made different decisions the night of ...more
Kelly Hager
Aug 25, 2011 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
You know how in Stand By Me (and the story it's based on, The Body), the narrator says something about how we never have friends as good as the friends we have in childhood?* In this novel, that's a really good thing.

Gwen, Mickey, Tim, Sean and Gordon ("Go-Go") are friends. They explore this giant forest that's behind Gwen's house (this is in the long-ago time when kids were allowed to do things without parental supervision) most of the summer and one day, they find a man who lives in a ramshack
Aug 28, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
A secret is shared by a group of children and adults. The novel reviews the events that led up to the secret and the perspectives of those involved. Laura Lippman does a fantastic job of making the reader see how each one of these characters viewed what happened and how they felt about it years later. This is only the second novel I have read by her and I am impressed. The novel had a depth I wasn't expecting. This would be a great novel to review for book clubs. It is a way to explore the emoti ...more
Sep 02, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it
I am always thrilled when a new Laura Lippman comes out-it usually means a free trip back to Baltimore and often it's to the Baltimore of my childhood/young adulthood. The Most Dangerous Thing is no exception in that regard but it is not quite what I've come to expect from Ms Lippman. It is well written and certainly evokes the freedom, almost wildness, of childhood in the late 70s. But while the writing is in many ways excellent, I did have some difficulties. The transitions from present to pas ...more
Laura de Leon
I associate Laura Lippman with mysteries, and I was expecting this book to fall somewhere in the mystery/thriller genre.

It doesn't, not really. Yes, there is a death (and exactly what happened is murky), and people trying to deal with what happened shapes the lives of the 5 kids (and associated parents) involved, but that's just one part of the story.

This is a story of friendships and how they change, and how who you are as a child can affect the rest of your life.

It's an extremely character cen
Sep 09, 2011 Pamela rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
This is a story of five friends who grew up in the same neighborhood and what happened one summer night that changed not only their friendship but also their lives. It is the death of one of the five that brings them all back together and it is once they all meet that each of them starts to wonder how different their lives would have been if that one event had not taken place years ago.

Reading the synopsis I thought the book looked interesting, but as I read on I found myself quickly skimming t
Mary Gramlich
Sep 15, 2011 Mary Gramlich rated it it was amazing
08/11 - HarperCollins Publishers - Hardcover, 352 pages

Could you take a life altering secret to your grave?

It was a different time growing up in the 70’s and 80’s you had the freedom to roam unsupervised and be independent in a way that will never happen again. A group of children met one summer with different backgrounds, home environments, and sexes never giving any of that a thought, only worrying about the next great adventure and challenge the parent
Sep 29, 2011 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it
I generally avoid authors whose m.o. involves writing multiple books centered around one main character. Our local library seems to love Laura Lippman, who I remembered focuses her attention on the detective Tess Monaghan in most of her novels. This was sitting forlornly in the "New Releases" bin...saw in the jacket blurb that this was a "stand-alone" novel (meaning, I guess, no Tess Monaghan) so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'm glad I did; "The Most Dangerous Thing", while having not exactly th
Oct 02, 2011 Linda rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 21, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
WHAT is this book about?

A group of childhood friends are reunited when one of them dies in a drunk driving accident. A secret from their past may have been a factor in their friend's death, and they confront their shared past for the first time since losing touch years ago. Told from the point of view of the children and their parents, the book dips in and out of the past (circa 1977-1978) and the present, where the grown-up versions of the kids are struggling with problems and issues whose seed
Jan 30, 2012 Brenda rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who think child molestation is no big deal, especially if it's a woman who is the molester
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2012 Doreen rated it did not like it
In the late 1970s, five childhood friends (Gwen, Mickey, Sean, Tim and Go Go)spend their free time exploring the woods outside their Baltimore neighbourhood. Then a tragedy occurs which changes their lives and those of their parents. It is a tragedy which they never discuss until Go Go's death (accident or suicide?) brings them together. Gradually the truth of what really happened in the woods is revealed.

The viewpoints of the friends are given, as are those of the parents. Everyone's motivatio
I have such mixed feelings about this novel. Something Bad happened back in the late 70s to a group kids, 3 brothers, 2 neighboring girls, friends for a year or so, who live in a Baltimore suburb during a time when kids still had the freedom to roam unsupervised for most of the day. The story unspools from differing points of view, switching back and forth between the past and present, with lots of introspection and weighing of choices, motives and consequences by all involved, including the par ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Jon rated it it was ok
I saw the author on Craig Ferguson the other night, and she seemed smart and reasonable. She also said that "the most dangerous thing" is finally revealed in the last sentence of the book. That sounded like careful planning to me, so I thought I'd give it a try. She told the truth--it IS revealed in the last sentence. Trouble is, nobody, including the reader, was asking the question. I counted at least 13 major characters in this book, each major enough to get at least one chapter told from his/ ...more
Prakash Loungani
Apr 10, 2012 Prakash Loungani rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish it. Author took too long for me to get to the point ... (Goodreads should have a "Date I gave up on this book" instead of just a "Date I finished this book")
Book Him Danno
Getting up from your mistakes and trying to live well today; to try again.

I struggled with this book; not because it was bad, but rather it is a break in style from what I expect from Laura Lippman. I can genuinely claim Lippman is in my top 5 favourite authors, and I anxiously await each new release. The Most Dangerous Thing has her taking risk with her voice and unfortunately that collided with my preconceived notions. I believe this is an acquired taste and could prove to be one of her best
Sara Strand
Jul 02, 2012 Sara Strand rated it did not like it
You know I'm never shy when I review a book and those I love I tell everyone and their cousins about it because I feel like authors are undervalued. More people should be absorbed in books and the value of a good book in under appreciated. Unfortunately, that's not the case so much here.

What makes this hard is that technically speaking, Laura Lippman is a great writer. She isn't addicted to adjectives, her writing flows and it's easy to read. The problem with this book is that after every singl
Jul 10, 2016 Jaime rated it it was ok
I did not like this book anywhere near as much as I’ve liked Lippman’s other novels. She states that this is the most personal book she’s written, setting it in the area she grew up in, and I think the plot suffers for it.

The story follows the adult versions of childhood friends Gwen, McKey (nee Mickey), Tim, and Sean, awkwardly brought together after the death of the boys’ younger brother, Gordon. They are all keeping a terrible secret, which is supposed to be revealed to us in drips and drabs
Oct 05, 2012 Alexandra rated it did not like it
This book. Oh man. Funny story. I had actually checked this book out of the library a few months ago. It was one of many in a teetering stack that I thought seemed interesting enough. I had read a few of Laura Lippman's books before and they'd held my attention. I liked them well enough. For some reason when it came time to read this one, I didn't want to and returned it without a second thought. And last week, I picked it up again and checked it out because, well, I couldn't find anything else ...more
Dec 23, 2013 Dorsi rated it it was ok
I could not finish this. I didn't like anyone and didn't care what happened to them or in the story. This was my first Laura Lippman and possibly my last.
Mar 22, 2014 Darlene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, mystery
This audio version of the book," The Most Dangerous Thing", was written by Laura Lippman and read by Linda Emond.

This story is told in the present with flashbacks to the 1970's and 80's. The story begins in the present with Gordon ('Go Go') Halloran, a forty year old very troubled, recovering alcoholic who has just recently 'fallen off the wagon'. Instead of attending his usual AA meeting, he made his way to a bar; after having a few drinks, he got into his car and started driving at a high rate

I can't take this anymore. I'm giving up. And I'm disgusted that a woman wrote this (and that makes me angry and disappointed).
Oct 12, 2014 Claire rated it did not like it
I at least SOMEWHAT enjoyed I'd Know You Anywhere, and I've had a few other Lippman books on my list for a couple of years now, so I thought I'd check out another one. I think I'm giving up. For mystery-thrillers, there's just very little of both (in either of her books I've read). I should have put this one down the moment it started to irk me (about 2-3 chapters in). The biggest issue I had with the book at first was the constantly changing storytelling mode. Changing from "we" to "they" - it ...more
December 9, 2012

This is going to make me sound like a horrible person, but I might as well put it up front: I didn't enjoy this as much as some other Lippman books I've read recently, because the people aren't nearly so awful. In her usual way she's exploring how events in the past are never hidden, how they rise up again in the present, and how secrets can wreck lives. But none of these characters is irredeemable, everyone is doing the best they can with the information they have at the time, a
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who is the narrator? 8 90 Jul 06, 2014 04:21PM  
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Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar , the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other ...more
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