cover image Prom Mom

Prom Mom

Laura Lippman. Morrow, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-299806-4

This gripping thriller from Lippman (Dream Girl) centers on the codependent relationships between the charming Joe Simpson and the women trapped in his orbit. Prom night 1997 at Baltimore’s Towson High School ends in the shocking death of a newborn baby, found in the girls’ restroom near the mother (and Joe’s date), a barely conscious Amber Glass. Though she has no recollection of what happened, Amber is arrested and swiftly convicted of manslaughter. While Amber is in prison, Joe meets and marries Meredith, whom he cheats on regularly. After starting her life over in New Orleans post-prison, Amber decides to return to Baltimore for the first time in more than 20 years to open an art gallery—when she does, she and Joe fall back into a relationship. By then, the Covid-19 pandemic is in full swing, dooming Joe’s hopes for the local shopping center he recently purchased. With Amber’s help, he concocts a scheme to bail himself out before he meets financial ruin, which goes predictably awry. Lippman works up a slow burn, gently teasing out a game of cat and mouse between Joe and Amber that comes into full focus toward the end of the novel. Readers who persevere will reach a devilishly satisfying conclusion. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (July)