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Group Read - Sunburn > Group Read - Sunburn Part 1 Ch 12-21 Spoilers Welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Part one is twenty-one chapters - this topic covers chapters 12-21 If the first to post, please briefly summarize this segment to guide the discussion through part one. Spoilers Welcome.


message 2: by Geri (last edited Mar 28, 2018 12:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Geri Sunburn

12 - Adam and Polly get to know each other better. Polly tells him how he should break up with Kath. And Polly wants to keep their relationship a secret.

13 - Adam is becoming more obsessed with Polly. Adam has been told by his client that Polly has run off with a jackpot from a previous husband. Adam follows Polly in a cab. He has to abort when she ends up in a residential area. After, Polly is sad and seduces Adam in his truck.

14 - Irving, Adam’s client, ponders his past with Polly. Laments over the money he is paying to Adam with no results. And how he helped Polly take out an insurance policy for her husband.

15 - Polly retells the story of how she met, married and ultimately killed her first husband, Burton Ditmars. And his rape, abuse and threats to kill her.

16 - Adam tells Irving Polly has no money. Irving sends Adam a video where Polly is one of three women released after killing their abusive husbands. Governor regretted it because it was later revealed that Polly had taken an insurance policy out three months before.

17 - Polly realizes Adam is acting different. Polly visits Kath to make her suspicious of Adam.

18 - Kath visits her sister and brother in law, a state trooper. Finds out about Polly killing her husband. Kath blackmails Polly. Asks for $10,000 or she will tell everyone.

19 - Adam breaks down door when Polly fails to open it. She tells him Kath is giving her trouble and wants to spread lies. Adam says he knows about Polly’s past through Kath. He still loves her anyway.

20 - Adam ruminates over their situation. He wants them to leave town.

21 - Polly ignores Kath’s threat. Polly tells her boss and he does not care about her past. After a confrontation with Kath, she goes to Adam’s room. They hear a fire engine. The next morning, they find out a fire has destroyed her place. And Kath is dead.


message 3: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Geri: again thanks so much for the summaries. They took me right back into the book at this point and wasn’t this a crazy close to the part one segment.
I was originally thinking Adam was fairly smart and doing his job for Irving fairly well until Polly got him to break up with Kath and to be so gullible on how to do it, ostensibly to save her feelings. What a dupe. Poor Kathy.
I have more to say about the other chapters later but will close on how sad it was that Kath was conveniently made to be out of the way after she posed a threat by going to her brother-in-law. Yikes!


Geri Yes, Polly deliberately gave Adam bad advice so he would hurt Kath in the worst way possible. That was a good example of her manipulative and cruel side. But Polly really miscalculated when she tried to make Kath suspicious of Adam. And Kath did not realize who she was up against! How cold and calculating Polly could be. Kath was a hot head, but Polly definitely learned how to keep a cool head when things go wrong!


message 5: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Geri: Polly is just plain scary! And Kathy sealed her doom by plotting blackmail so no indeed - she had no idea what she was going up against.
And Adam, his head must have been spinning with the different details about Polly he was supposed to know and the ones he knew that he wasn't supposed to know. Irving doesn't help there by trickle leaking info. It's a fascinating way to build the picture of Polly.


James Emery | 14 comments Hey guys, I'm late to the party but just joined up and then went on vacation.

Again, I like to look at story structure and progression. So, at this point, we to the midpoint of the novel. This is typically when the hunted becomes the hunter or the goal seems to have changed. And thus, now we have a major plot point of Kath's death. Before, the reader was led to sympathize somewhat with Polly. A sordid past, but one that we all could mostly understand (save the children aspect). Now, the reader is forced to question not just Polly but their own assumptions...strong work.

Adam, for a PI, is coming across as a naïve teenager. Blinded by love and sex, he's completely oblivious to the shadiness. Or okay with it, which is more intriguing.

The only part I wasn't a big fan of was the intrusive backstory and the introduction of Irving. In my opinion, the information would've been much more impactful had it been delivered through a main character's POV. Instead, Lippman gives us another POV after the 1/4th mark of Irving. Honestly, when I read the scene from Kath's POV, I wonder why Lippman didn't use her more? It seems to me, the story could've been told very well from Adam, Kath, and Polly's perspective without the added, random PI which we haven't seen again and Irving.

All that being said, I'm a bigger fan of the novel at this juncture. I agree with Ann, the building of Polly's character has been done well. Assumptions of the reader and the other characters continue to be challenged. And now with the potential murder of Kath, it adds another layer to Polly's psyche.


message 7: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments James: agreed, Kath's death is a major turning point (that surprised me)
Some novels have no clear delineation at a midpoint, but it is an added treat if the reader can sense that structure and progression as we do throughout Sunburn.
James wrote: "Hey guys, I'm late to the party but just joined up and then went on vacation.
Again, I like to look at story structure and progression. So, at this point, we to the midpoint of the novel. This is ..."



Ceelee | 205 comments Well, I agree that Adam is an eejit getting himself mixed up with a woman he is investigating. He is too immersed into their physical relationship to really think rationally and that is one reason why his investigation is going nowhere.
I think it was a little silly for Lippman to cast Cath as a blackmailer. It is so obvious that a blackmailer is going to end up dead. Never fails. It is a good plot twist to explain the offing of a character though.
Unless....that wasn't Cath on that stretcher.
Not likely in the real world but in the world of mystery and suspense and soap operas a dead body can always be someone unexpected. :)
I personally think Cath should have just told Adam what she found out from her brother in law. maybe that would have sobered him up a bit. It's the 21st century. Most people understand about domestic violence and why a woman might want to kill her abuser. I don't think it would have been an earth shattering news flash to everyone and it probably would have gotten her more sympathy.
On to Part 2....


message 9: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Lol, Ceelee that is one way to put it!
Ceelee wrote: "Well, I agree that Adam is an eejit getting himself mixed up with a woman he is investigating.."


message 10: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Ceelee: agree, blackmail or keeping secrets are not indicators of longevity. Not that I think we can blame Cath for Polly's vindictive reactions and jealousy.
Ceelee wrote: "It is so obvious that a blackmailer is going to end up dead. Never fails. It is a good plot twist to explain the offing of a character though.
I personally think Cath should have just told Adam what she found out from her brother in law. maybe that would have sobered him up a bit. I
..."



Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7910 comments Just making my way to this and agree with all that has been said, especially that Adam is a disappointment as a supposedly seasoned detective falling for the femme fatale. The book has the feel of the pulp detective stories and film noir. I especially experienced deja vu at the scene where Adam broke down the door to Polly's apartment. Straight out of Body Heat with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. I do wonder where the story is going to turn next.


message 12: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Carol: Agreed, the noir feeling and pulp detective tone are very strong; and yes, Adam's falling for Polly was unprofessional and disappointing. It does flip our looking-in-on view of Polly to something more intimate by transforming the perspective to a different cat (and mouse) game.


message 13: by OMalleycat (last edited Nov 11, 2018 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

OMalleycat | 1448 comments Geri, nice summaries! I’m going to have to study your work so I can better get mine down to just-the-facts-ma’am.

On the earlier thread a lot of you were expecting Cath to play a major role. I have to confess that I didn’t think so. I thought she was just there to draw Adam into the restaurant/bar and her “relationship” with Adam was to foreshadow his sleazy side as he remorselessly used her and was clueless in breaking up with her. Boy, was I wrong!


Ann said: “And Adam, his head must have been spinning with the different details about Polly he was supposed to know and the ones he knew that he wasn't supposed to know. Irving doesn't help there by trickle leaking info. It's a fascinating way to build the picture of Polly.“

Not just Adam, Ann, but me! My head is spinning trying to keep track of the bits and pieces we’ve learned and put them together to make a coherent story.

James said: “Before, the reader was led to sympathize somewhat with Polly. A sordid past, but one that we all could mostly understand”

I disagree, James. I figured Pauline for a heedless scofflaw from the first, perhaps because I’ve read a lot of Lippman and she doesn’t hesitate to create criminal women.

Ceelee said: “Unless....that wasn't Cath on that stretcher. ”

I had this thought too, Ceelee, and almost read on to find out. I couldn’t decide if it was M/T paranoia—as you said, unexpected victims and sudden switches are common—or a viable turn of plot. It’s a few minutes later now and I think I’ve decided it’s really Cath because that will turn the screws on Polly and Adam and they’ll likely have to either go on the run together or batten down the hatches and try to weather it out in Belleville.

Carol said: “. . .especially that Adam is a disappointment as a supposedly seasoned detective falling for the femme fatale. The book has the feel of the pulp detective stories and film noir.”

I love the noir elements especially the good-man-dragged-into-trouble-by-a-scheming-woman trope which usually ends with the good man dead or in prison. Lippman is a great admirer of James M. Cain and I’m finding Sunburn a delicious homage.


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