cover image Seasonal Work: Stories

Seasonal Work: Stories

Laura Lippman. Morrow, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-300003-2

Bestseller Lippman (Dream Girl) displays her uncanny understanding of human nature and all its foibles in this worthy collection of 12 stories involving deceit, violence, and psychological mayhem. In the edgy “Slow Burner,” a married couple, Liz and Phil, engage in metaphorical fisticuffs after healing from the husband’s infidelity a year previously. Then Liz finds a burner phone in the laundry basket with incriminating texts on it. She tries to trivialize it as an example of Phil’s “delight in being new to someone, anyone,” but soon realizes this affair runs as deeply as the first. She takes matters into her own hands, with frightening results. Another standout is “Five Fires,” in which a jealous small-town deli worker is determined to find the arsonist setting nearby fires, but her schizophrenia conceals the shocking truth about the crimes. Booksellers will relish “The Book Thing,” in which PI Tess Monaghan, Lippman’s series lead, catches the man stealing inventory from indie bookstores—and discovers his extraordinary use for the books. Not every entry is top-notch, but anything from Lippman is worth reading. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Jan.)