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Slow Burner

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A woman watches her marriage implode over text message and decides that ignorance is not bliss in this bitterly satisfying short mystery by the New York Times bestselling author of Lady in the Lake.

Liz Kelsey promised herself she’d never again spy on her feckless husband, Phil. But then she discovers a string of suggestive texts on his secret burner phone. Even worse, he’s flirting with the woman who shook their unstable marriage once before. But knowledge is power. What’s more dangerous—what Liz knows or what Phil doesn’t know?

Laura Lippman’s Slow Burner is part of Hush, a collection of six stories, ranging from political mysteries to psychological thrillers, in which deception can be a matter of life and death. Each piece can be read or listened to in one truly chilling sitting.

38 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 30, 2020

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About the author

Laura Lippman

133 books5,580 followers
Since Laura Lippman’s debut, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the “essential” crime writers of the last 100 years. Stephen King called her “special, even extraordinary,” and Gillian Flynn wrote, “She is simply a brilliant novelist.” Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty-five languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her teenager.

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5 stars
1,515 (28%)
4 stars
2,096 (40%)
3 stars
1,242 (23%)
2 stars
283 (5%)
1 star
97 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 549 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,304 reviews44k followers
August 6, 2020
Obsession, betrayal, stalking, lots of therapy, burner phones, lies, arguments: yes, this is another anatomy of dysfunctional marriage or short synopsis of daytime soap operas!

Liz Kelsey cannot stop herself spying on her husband. Actually dear Phill forced his hand by purchasing a burner phone to talk with HW ( we don’t know the exact name of the other woman so let’s make a guess: Hillary Willinton, nope,too political, Halle Werry: too Hollywood-ish, Henrietta Werlinger-too German?)

Anyways, she keeps tracking the message traffic as her husband dearest rewrites his life story or retelling new stories about himself which actually haven’t happened but when he writes to his so called friend woman that he wants a divorce, Liz starts to think, this spy game she’s playing isn’t entertaining anymore.

Overall: Quick story with lovely twist. I didn’t love it too much. It was not breathtakingly fantastic but it was somehow enjoyable and intriguing.

I’m giving my three point five stars and for the last delicious twist I’m rounding them up to 4 lovely villain laughs stars before moving on to next story.

Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
571 reviews618 followers
August 5, 2020
Well played!!! Very sneaky, very sneaky indeed. The author got me hook, line and sinker with this fantastic story.

I love a good cheater story and this was one that really played me well. Phil is a good husband, until he was not...Phil can't seem to stay away from one particular person, no matter what the cost. His wife Liz thought they had overcome this in their marriage until she finds out she was wrong...very, very wrong.

Fun, fast and twisty, read this in under an hour.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,198 reviews3,035 followers
August 2, 2020
Liz Kelsey promised to never spy on her husband again, after he promised to never cheat again. But, while sorting laundry, she finds a burner phone in his pocket and Liz has proof he's at it again. Rather than confront her lying skunk of a husband, Liz waits patiently, while reading his texts in secret. Liz has the upper hand this time, she knows things and her husband doesn't! 

Laura Lippman’s Slow Burner is part of Hush, a collection of six stories, ranging from political mysteries to psychological thrillers, in which deception can be a matter of life and death. 

This is a Kindle Unlimited selection.  
Profile Image for Sandra.
681 reviews6 followers
January 31, 2021
Pretty good short story about a wife (Liz) who finds a burner phone in her husband Phil’s pants while washing the clothes. Curious, she looks at it and discovers he’s been texting a woman romantically. What will Liz do about it?

An enjoyable short read with a twist I didn’t see coming.

Profile Image for Deanna .
687 reviews12.5k followers
August 3, 2020

4.5 Stars!!

This was my first read from the Hush Collection and it's definitely not going to be my last!

The Hush Collection is a collection of six short stories (e-book or audiobook) written by six well-known award-winning authors. From what I've seen so far, social media seems to play a part in all of the stories. I love books that have anything to do with social media so reading (or listening) to these is a no brainer.

When Liz Kelsey finds her husband's secret burner phone filled with compromising text messages things start to heat up.

I've enjoyed many novels by Laura Lippman and I'm adding this little story to that list.

Secrets, lies, and deception. This story had it all!

Profile Image for Rosh.
1,572 reviews1,828 followers
January 1, 2023
An entertaining slow-burner (see what I did there? 😛) short mystery story.

Eighteen months ago, Liz Kelsey had promised her cheating husband that she would never spy on him again. However, now she has discovered his secret burner phone, which contains many texts to an unknown number. The recipient is clearly female, and Liz is quite sure it is the same woman with whom he had cheated on her all those months ago. Liz is in a quandary. If she tells her husband about the phone, he will know that she was snooping again. If she doesn’t, he might continue the affair behind her back. What do you think Liz will do? Read and find out.

I don’t want to reveal much about the story as it is quite short. It does perfect justice to its title. The writing is slow but interesting. It mainly focusses on Liz’s perspective, with random inclusions of the series of text messages on the burner phone. (Don’t skip reading the texts.) The ending is oh-so-satisfying.

Long back, when I had read Roald Dahl’s short story ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, I was reminded of Harry Belafonte’s song – ‘Man Smart (Woman Smarter)’. Today, I was reminded of it again.

This might not be the perfect short story, but it sure as heck was entertaining!

4 stars.

The story is a part of the Hush Collection, and is available to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Thanks to my Goodreads friend Thibault for putting this story on my radar. It was a nice read for the first day of the year. Do read his review too.

Connect with me through:
My Blog | The StoryGraph | Facebook | Twitter
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,394 reviews804 followers
December 29, 2022
My my my, this is a great story for the “me too” movement! I am a huge fan of Laura Lippman. When I saw that she contributed to Audible’s Hush collection of short stories, I had to get it.

Liz Kelsey finds some crazy texts on her husband’s “secret” burner phone to a woman who he was priorly involved with, almost ending their marriage. What’s a wife to do now?

This is a delicious 54-minute short story which is very satisfying, at least for women! FYI, the “Hush Collection” involves six stories in which deception is the focus. I’m sold!!
Profile Image for Dez the Bookworm.
268 reviews109 followers
February 3, 2023
Quite the little drama mystery.

I really enjoyed this one. The author did a fantastic job putting this short story together in such a way that it felt longer than it actually is.

The narrator on the audiobook is fantastic as well - best I’ve heard so far.

This story is about a woman who has been married a long time and starts suspecting her husband of cheating…again. We sit back and watch their lives unfurl, wondering how this is going to end. When it does, it does not disappoint!!
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
October 5, 2020
as much as i prefer reading a three-dimensional physical book-book, there are some perks to having an e-reader, not the least of which is all that digital-only content out there taunting me in its virtual glory, particularly these amazon original stories i've had my eye on for ages; thematically-linked collections of stories featuring so many of my favorite authors.

we were kept apart for so long, until recently, when a friend of mine upgraded his kindle and donated his old kindle fire to meee, and even though i'm still mystified by many of its features, poking at it like a caveman until it does what i want, i now have several of these stories on deck and i am delighted as a person can be in the flaming hellscape of 2020. thanks, john!!!

this was the first one i tried, and even though it was "only" a three-star read for me, i wasn't disappointed. it was a like-not-love only because it was very short and i saw where it was going pretty early on, so i didn't get the WOWZA of surprise the story intended me to have. still, it's a well-written tale about the consequences of infidelity, and i enjoyed the ride, brief as it was. my favorite detail is that she managed to toss a reference to The Wire into a story centered around burner phones, because i like to imagine it was part of her and david simon's vows to name-drop each other in their work whenever possible, even in a story about a lousy marriage.

from the hush collection:

Where do you go for truth in an age of social media illusions and deep divisions? How do you trust what you think you know about your friends and family? In stories featuring conspirators, psychics, deceptive lovers, and desperate killers, some of today's most popular and award-winning crime writers explore the very nature of truth and the risks in uncovering the lies.

Slow Burner
The Gift
Let Her Be

come to my blog!
Profile Image for GirlWithThePinkSkiMask.
468 reviews2,015 followers
November 25, 2022
Damn, I loved this for real. It reminded me of The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison (rip), which is one of my fave books. Feels were felt. Intelligently written and well-executed.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
2,080 reviews1,662 followers
August 3, 2020
Liz and Phil have been married for a long time. Liz finds a burner phone and realises Phil is up to his old tricks. Another winner from the Hush Collection! The storyline is clever and has a great twist. I really like the Greek Mythology references which are used most effectively and also the films used in the storyline. Onto the final one!
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
August 17, 2020
3.5 Stars.

Phil Kelsey is a prominent Chicago investor and cheater.....again.

Wife Liz is a school teacher and disheartened text spy.....again.

Liz loves Phil. Wants to save her marriage. Is devastated by the most recent text on his burner phone.....Oh No!

They try therapy.....again.

Phil is upbeat. Whistling a happy tune. Another trip to S.F......to see code name HW.

And then.....Ha! The end!

In this world of technology, is anything truly private?

Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 22 books466 followers
August 5, 2020
Call me crazy, but I have a soft spot for revenge stories.

And that conclusion was right up my alley...well thought out, clever, and totally plausible. Loved it!

I can also recommend (at this point), Let Her Be by Lisa Unger from the Hush Collection.

Now that I've completed the series, here is my ranking of the six stories:
1. Buried
2/3. Let Her Be & Slow Burner tied for second place
4. The Gift
5. Treasure
6. Snowflakes
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
656 reviews1,614 followers
August 2, 2020
Phil promised Liz he’d never cheat on her again. So why does she find a burner phone in his pants when she’s about to do laundry? Why is he secretly texting the same woman from last time?

This is the 3rd story I’ve read from this collection so far, and I was hooked! I really enjoyed seeing how this one wrapped up. It really is a slow burn with a fantastic climax.

This is part of Amazon’s new Hush Collection, 6 stories each written by a different author.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,818 reviews12.8k followers
September 29, 2020
Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.


Returning for another HUSH Collection short story, I sought out Laura Lippman’s piece that shows how affairs in the technological age can be even more problematic. Filled with interesting discussions on the emotions of infidelity and its various levels, Lippman leaves the reader to consider how destructive one man’s actions can be to a wife who’s not new to the game.

It all began fairly harmlessly for Liz Kelsey, when she was preparing to launder her husband’s pants. Liz found a basic cellphone in Phil’s pocket and curiosity got the better of her. She opened the phone to reveal a text string with a woman from their past. Eighteen months ago, Phil had strayed from the marriage and commenced an affair with a woman he labelled as ‘HW’ in his contacts folder. Now, with her initials back on this secondary phone, Liz is sure her husband’s up to no good.

As the story progresses, Liz reads the text exchanges between the two, in which Phil is pushing hardcore for a resumption of the interaction, while ‘HW’ seems to have cooled her jets. Liz adds her own editorialising for the reader’s benefit, while also showing that Phil has surely learned nothing from his past. Counselling did little, though it is almost as though the neutrality ‘HW’ shows in the text conversation pushes the Kelseys back to seek marital assistance. When Phil tries to justify that his decision to divorce Liz is solely for his own happiness, the text responses ‘HW’ offers leave some questions as to whether she believes him.

Setting up a meeting in San Francisco, Phil and ‘HW’ agree to see one another face to face, though something goes wrong and Liz learns some horrible news. It’s as the story closes that everything comes together and Liz must face the storm.

Having never read any of Laura Lippman’s work before, I came into this piece fairly open minded. I hoped something would pull me in from the opening pages. This happened, though I was waiting for the action to kick into high gear. Instead, the slow and methodical development of the plot turned action into revelation and served up a few twists that left me eager for more.

Liz and Phil play dual protagonist roles. They both share centre stage, though never with one another. Liz serves as the grounded character, offering the reader all they need to understand the bigger picture, while Phil shows an online presence that pushes the story forward. Obviously, they need one another for this story to work, which Lippman does well in their respective realms. While there is mention of ‘HW’ throughout, her role is minimal and serves only to offer an emotional wall for Phil, leaving him to spin his tires.

The premise of the piece was quite well planned. Emotional affairs and the sharing of feelings by text is a newer, but by no means radical, form of infidelity. Lippman shows the power it can have, even when only one player is part of the game. She also provides some social commentary about how it takes only one to be fully committed to derail something, causing missed cues that usher in a false reality. Lippman moves well between ‘text’ and reality, giving the reader just enough to get a sense of what is going on, while also leaving much in the air. The closing pages bring things together effectively, though the reader will have to take the time to see what’s meant by that.

Kudos, Madam Lippman, for this great story that kept me thinking. I will have to look into some more of your work, when time permits.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Brandice.
911 reviews
August 25, 2020
Slow Burner is a very short mystery featuring cheating, spying, and lying — A quick and intriguing read!
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,189 reviews2,256 followers
August 16, 2020
She thought they were happy until a strange cheap phone clattered to the bathroom floor...

She couldn’t STOP herself from reading the texts between her husband and H.W..

After all, this isn’t the first time she has caught him...

Yes, this was fun!

This is another one of the Amazon Original short stories in the HUSH collection-6 stories-6 deceptions.
Just 46 minutes..

Written by some of our favorite authors such as Laura Lippman, Lisa Unger, Ruth Ware, Alison Gaylin, Jeffrey Deaver and Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Or a great way to sample his or hers work, if the author is new to you!
Profile Image for Susan (on semi hiatus).
446 reviews126 followers
August 31, 2020
Her husband is at it again. Cheating.

She thought her marriage had survived the first round and they were back on track. What's a woman to do with such a man?

Laura Lippman has long been a favorite author and she didn't disappoint with this one. I loved it!
Profile Image for Christina.
547 reviews204 followers
August 2, 2020
My favorite in the Hush collection so far! Like the title indicates, it is a slow burn, so don’t expect a fast thrilling pace. But for me it was filled with suspense. Even though I thought I knew what was going on (and I did), I couldn’t wait to find out if I was right.

Normally I find books that use text messages as dialogue to be boring, but this one was really well-done.

The top line story is familiar: is her husband cheating? But the more nuanced and brilliant story is about a woman realizing who her husband really is in a post #MeToo era. So well done in such a short amount of pages, but that’s Laura Lippman for you.

This was a really good one for anyone who likes slow-burning mysteries.
Profile Image for boogenhagen.
1,982 reviews709 followers
August 4, 2020
I love this story. Finally a lady realizes just what a slime slurping, coprophagic nematode her hubby really is and she takes some excellent steps to sort his garbage out.

After years of putting up with heroines who just cave at the drop of a hat and tolerate the worst sort of bad behavior, it was very nice to see some serious comeuppance.

That is pretty mean of me, but this was a very happy read. Yes, I am a vengeful book reading person - too few authors are willing to go there, so it was a very refreshing change.
Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
798 reviews596 followers
September 6, 2020
A Hush Collection short story from Amazon. An intriguing dose of domestic suspense! I loved this one. Phil was caught cheating once, and has promised not to do it again. Liz believed him, until she finds his secret burner phone that suggests otherwise. Instead of confronting him, she quietly reads his back and forth flirty texts with another woman. Realizing that he will never change, what will she do? Great twisty ending.
Profile Image for Karly.
234 reviews47 followers
January 4, 2023
My Rating System: 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ fun, quick and quirky stars!!!

This was a super short, short story so I am not going to recap the synopsis.

The premise was devastating a woman is in a marriage that she knows is doomed but she loves the man so much she is willing to put up with his constant cheating… or so it seems.

I liked this a lot - as I said it was actually quite sad and I felt really bad for Liz throughout the whole (very short story) but what was even better was the twist!!! You gotta read it just for that because it came crashing through the door and hit me in the face in a blast!!!

What a bit of cheeky fun this one was - really worth the free read (Kindle Unlimited) and a great way to spend a little bit of time.

These short stories are a really good look at the author’s writing and a way to try before you buy so to speak - I will definitely be checking out more of Laura Lippman’s work after this little beauty.
Profile Image for Thibault Busschots.
Author 3 books80 followers
December 30, 2022
A woman discovers that her husband has a secret phone, which he uses to keep in touch with a woman he was previously involved with. The woman decides not to confront him with this just yet. Instead, she watches her husband like a hawk as he keeps texting this other woman.

This story revolves around a woman who feels betrayed by her man. And as the saying goes: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The story feels partly inspired by Greek mythology and also lightly touches upon the me too movement. The text messages also come across as authentic, which makes them quite fascinating to read.

Quite a gripping and rather slow-burning short story, with a fantastic twist and a rather satisfying ending.
August 5, 2020
Slow Burner by Laura Lippman is my most recent read in Amazon’s Hush Collection. I’m thinking about how much I love how this ended, and notice how much I loved the endings of other recent reads like The Closer You Get, The New Husband, The End of Her and Confessions on the 7:45 – I wonder what this says about me!
Profile Image for Derek (temp hiatus).
262 reviews87 followers
January 3, 2022
Slow Burner is one of six short stories in the Amazon Hush Collection.

This was my 3rd in the series and the first I really enjoyed. It's a short, clever story about a woman who wants to save her marriage but her cheating, scumbag husband has other plans. She thinks things have changed for the better until she finds his new burner phone...

I picked up what this was putting down early on but it was still oh so sweet to watch (or listen) unfold.

4.5 stars, rounding down.

UPDATE: Final rankings for all Hush short stories:
1. Buried
2. Slow Burner
3. Let Her Be
4. The Gift
5. Treasure

6. Snowflakes
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,379 reviews139 followers
August 26, 2022
Liz and Phil have been married for a long time, perhaps too long in Phil's opinion. 

This isn't the first time Liz has checked Phil's phone and this isn't the first time Phil's been caught out.

But whose deceiving who here?

This is part of the Hush collection, six stories ranging from political mysteries to psychological thrillers, in which deception can be a matter of life and death. Each piece can be read or listened to in one truly chilling sitting.

At the time of posting this collection is available on Kindle Unlimited. 
Displaying 1 - 30 of 549 reviews

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