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The Most Dangerous Thing

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  4,451 ratings  ·  693 reviews
Some secrets can’t be kept. . . .

The Most Dangerous Thing

Years ago, they were all the best of friends. But as time passed and circumstances changed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past — and the terrible lie they all shared. But now Gordon, the youngest and wildest of the five, has died and the others are thrown tog
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by William Morrow (first published 2011)
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Baltimore Blues by Laura LippmanHomicide by David SimonDinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne TylerThe Amateur Marriage by Anne TylerBaltimore Then and Now by Alexander D. Mitchell IV
24th out of 162 books — 19 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingDivergent by Veronica RothTaking Charge by Bridgitte Lesley
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353rd out of 502 books — 458 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
Jo Anne B
Secrets of what happened in the woods the night of a hurricane in 1979 come back to haunt four adults when they reunite after all these years for the death of one of their friends. Needless to say, this was a very sad, dark, depressing, mystery.

The author told the story from the perspectives of many characters in the first narrative switching between past and present. Doing so actually gave a lot of insight into nature of each person and made for a rich, deeper story. You learn so much about the
Will Byrnes
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 she r
Mary Gramlich
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
Sara Strand
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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 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.
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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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
Kelly Hager
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
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
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
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
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
Eliot Baker
Ms. Lippman deserves extra credit for degree of difficulty for this book, which was titled, "The Innocents" here in Finland, where I bought it. Her technical skill weaving between times and perspectives is admirable. Few writers could pull it off as well as she did, writing in a clear, unpretentious way and with sensitivity to all characters, even those who don't seem to deserve it so much.

By unfolding the overlapping origami of this world's characters over time, the reader's own perspective is
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
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads, and I was very excited to win this as I am new to Laura Lippmann. Her writing style is graceful and polished. I enjoyed the changes between the present day and 1979 -sometimes these time changes can get too convoluted, but Ms Lippmann handled it clearly and easily. Her characters were a delight. The children's individual characters expanded into adulthood was skillfully done, with life's tribulations and disappointments laying a venee ...more
I'm sad to say that I didn't like this book. Sad because Laura Lippman has always been a favourite of mine. I should have paid attention to the reviews on the book. They were all about Lippman's writing with nary a comment on this particular book. That tells you something.

The story is about five adults who were friends in childhood. At the beginning of the book one of the five, Gordon or Go Go as he is better known, falls off the wagon and a barstool to begin a drunken drive home. The end result
Teresa Lukey
I am quite surprised that the average rating for this book on goodreads is only 3.25. I often find many of the mystery novels to be too similar, so I do not read many, but this one is exceptional. Ms. Lippman does and excellent job of weaving small clues and ah-ha's consistently throughout the story, really keeping the reading engaged.

The story is primarily about five kids who are friends during the summer of 1979. Something happens in the woods near there home during this summer and a
Gloria Feit
The new standalone novel from Laura Lippman was, to this reader, unlike anything this wonderful author had written to this point. [Among her more recent ones, "I’d Know You Anywhere" and “What the Dead Know” still stand out in my memory and resonate with me.] The present work is not really a mystery [although there is a death early on in the book] nor procedural, but instead a series of in-depth character studies which will be difficult to match.

The author takes her time recreating and juxtaposi
Brothers Tim, Sean and Gordon Halloran played ball in a field near Gwen Robison's house on the outskirts of Baltimore. When Gwen and her friend Mickey see them, Mickey tells them they can't play there unless they let the girls join in. Soon, the five of them are exploring the nearby woods, something that would not be allowed today.

Fast-forward to the present-day. Gordon, the youngest of the five, stumbles out of a bar. Certain that he's not drunk, he gets in the car and heads home. Then he makes
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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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