The Most Dangerous Thing: Book summary and reviews of The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman

The Most Dangerous Thing

By Laura Lippman

The Most Dangerous Thing
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2011,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

A brilliant and psychologically suspenseful stand-alone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of I'd Know You Anywhere

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 Know, Life Sentences, I’d Know You Anywhere, etc.). With The Most Dangerous Thing, the multiple award winning author—recipient of the Anthony, Edgar®, Shamus, and Agatha Awards, to name but a few—once again demonstrates how storytelling is done to perfection.

Set once again in the well-wrought environs of Lippman’s beloved Baltimore, it is the shadowy tale of a group of onetime friends forced to confront a dark past they’ve each tried to bury following the death of one of their number. Rich in the compassion and insight into flawed human nature that has become a Lippman trademark while telling an absolutely gripping story, The Most Dangerous Thing will not be confined by genre restrictions, reaching out instead to captivate a wide, diverse audience, from Harlan Coben and Kate Atkinson fans to readers of Jodi Picoult and Kathryn Stockett.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. No one explores the delicate interplay between children and the adults they grow into better than Lippman." - Kirkus

"Although the story lacks some of the suspense and urgency of her most recent works, Lippman is an expert storyteller, and fans and mystery readers alike will appreciate her nuanced portrayal of life in small-town Maryland." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Her series lead, Tess Monaghan, makes a brief appearance, but this stand-alone belongs to the children, their memories, and everything dangerous that lives in the woods." - Publishers Weekly

"Acclaimed and ever-popular Lippman keeps readers enthralled on two fronts, following her latest Tess Monaghan installment with a powerful novel beyond category." - Booklist

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Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Samantha H. (Golden, CO)
Good potential but disappointing delivery
The Most Dangerous Thing started out with a promising story-line. At first I was drawn in to the tale of a group friends, but kept being annoyed by constant narration switch from third person to 1st, often in the same paragraph. My sympathy/interest in the characters fell away as the book progressed. It seemed like the book ended abruptly, as if the author had reached a page limit, and needed to wrap things up quickly. I found this book disappointing -- it had a good premise, but the delivery did not live up to my expectations.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Deborah C. (Seattle, WA)
Not Laura Lippman's Best
Although I am a huge fan of Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan books, I did not really enjoy this stand alone. The plot was fairly interesting, but I found the repeated shifts of perspective distracting. Because the story was told from the standpoints of so many different characters, none of whom were especially likable, I never really became attached to any of the characters or particularly cared what happened to them.

As always, however, Lippman paints a wonderful picture of life in Baltimore--reading her books always makes me want to visit the city!

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Stefani H. (Richmond, VT)
We are our own worst enemy
This is the first Laura Lippman book I have read so I didn't know what to expect. I enjoyed reading a book that gave such an insightful journey through the human experience. The crime was secondary to the characters in this book. I liked it being character driven by people whose depth and own personal discoveries throughout the book kept me wanting more. I think there is a lot to discuss in this book that book clubs would enjoy talking about. Especially people looking at their life and choices from different ages.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Dorothy S. (Hendersonville, NC)
Secrets, lies, dangerous things!
This is my first Lippman read, and I was not disappointed. Family dynamics, intrigue and a whole gamut of emotional responses: this book had it all. I was, however, a bit confused by the continual shift of focus, not only among characters, but also between past and present. It was challenging to read and probably even more so, challenging to write. Kudos to Laura Lippman.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Christine P. (San Francisco, CA)
The Most Dangerous Thing
Throughout this book there is a secret that is alluded to again and again. I really think the secret is something that changed as I read farther and farther into the book. Laura Lippman explores the perspectives of the people involved, why it happened and why it remains a secret. Guilt, penance and regret are all themes from this novel that would make it great for book discussion groups.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Eileen B. (East Moriches, NY)
Interesting Book
The book started out slowly and was hard to follow in the beginning. This is the first book from the author that I have read so I have nothing to compare to. The book was told by different narrators and there were times that I was unsure of who was talking at the time. The way the author incorporates the past with the present enhanced the plot and the mystery around the "secret" kept me reading on. The characters were interesting and the ending was unpredictable.

...27 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Laura Lippman Author Biography

Jim Burger

Laura Lippman was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She 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. The Most Dangerous Thing (2011), And When She Was Good (2012), After I'm Gone (2014) are some of her more recent works.

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 prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor's Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year ...

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