Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Slow Burner - Laura Lippman



Slow Burner is Laura Lippman’s contribution to the six-story “Hush Collection” that is available free to Amazon Prime members. Four of the stories in the compilation, including this one, run in the neighborhood of thirty pages in length, but the Jefferey Deaver one clocks in at eighty, and the one by Lisa Unger is 61 pages long. The only other story from “Hush” I’ve read so far is Ruth Ware’s Snowflakes, and I read that one mostly as an introduction to Ware’s style since I had not read her previously. 


Slow Burner is a tale about cheating husbands and the wives who catch them at it. The particular husband in this one thought he was being especially clever by buying one of those cheap “burner” phones so that he could safely communicate with the woman he hoped to make his mistress. Unfortunately for him, that only works if you don’t forget to empty your pockets when you shed your dirty clothing at the end of the day. Our cheating husband, is simply not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.


Once the would-be-cheater’s wife finds the phone, she goes into the “slow burn” alluded to in the title of the story. Her flame goes higher and higher, though, as she reads more and more of the text messages between her husband and the woman with whom he is so infatuated. 


This would not be much of a story, of course, if it ended well for all parties concerned, and Lippman does a good job of building a nervous anticipation in the reader about what is going to happen ultimately to at least one of the main characters. It’s only a question of whom you are rooting for. Do you want to see the “other woman” suffer, the cheating husband, both? Or do you have enough sympathy for them that you want the sneaky wife to fail in her efforts to get even? 


I won't tell you how I was hoping this one would end — or even if I was right. All I will say is that I figured out the ending way too early in the story, and that took away a lot of the fun I should have had with it. I’m a Laura Lippman admirer, and I’ve read quite a few of her novels and stories, so Slow Burner won’t change my opinion of her. I’m just a little disappointed that this one was as predictable as it turned out to be. 


Laura Lippman

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like the story was a bit of a 'turkey' Anyway, hope all is well with you! - Bill Glass

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    1. Afraid so. Everything here is as normal as normal is these days as life insists on going on despite COVID-19.

      Take care. I hope that you and yours are enjoying the day and feeling weel.

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  2. Can't wait to try this one, I have it downloaded. Happy Thanksgiving Sam.

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  3. I'll give it a try as I've enjoyed several of her books. Happy Thanksgiving, Sam!

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    1. Thank you, Jen. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family.

      I hope you enjoy the story. This is a big-name collection and it still surprises me that it was included as a Prime book.

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