The Most Dangerous Thing

The Most Dangerous Thing

by Laura Lippman

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“One of the best novelists around, period.”
Washington Post

“Lippman has enriched literature as a whole.
Chicago Sun-Times

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 captive a wide, diverse audience, from Harlan Coben and Kate Atkinson fans to readers of Jodi Picoult and Kathryn Stockett.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062092588
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/23/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 210,558
File size: 937 KB

About the Author

Since Laura Lippman's debut in 1997, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the "essential" crime writers of the last 100 years. Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.


Baltimore, Maryland

Date of Birth:

January 31, 1959

Place of Birth:

Atlanta, Georgia


B.S., Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, 1981

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Most Dangerous Thing 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
evanescenceSE More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader who enjoys bestsellers, all types of literature and more. This is one of the best books I have ever read
shayrp76 More than 1 year ago
They have been keeping a secret since childhood, and like most secrets do, it's haunting them. Five friends: Gwen, Mickey, Tim, Sean, and Go-Go never talk about what happened in the woods that day, and it inevitably stretched their friendship to the limit. Putting distance between them was the best way to forget. They aren't the only ones holding that information hostage though; some of the parents have held their tongues in hopes of protecting them too, but some secrets beg to be told. When one of the five friends dies they are brought together again to realize that there is a mystery lying under the truth that they have struggled to believe all along. This story is told from many character perspectives, jumping from past and present, giving the reader an inside view of their lives and how they saw the events unfold. That's an interesting way to approach a story, especially a mystery. The characters were described well enough for me to develop some love-hate opinions of them, and the twists at the end were refreshing and surprising. It's downfall for me was that the start was slow, as was the pacing. I would have enjoyed the story more if the pacing would have picked up some speed, but overall the characters and the surprising twists made this a good read. I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates mystery and to be shocked at the outcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is not a mystery, it is slow and boring, Do not waste your money,
Iamlal More than 1 year ago
Her worst book. Disjointed; with a plot that is lost among the excessive datails of the lives of secondary characters. Ms. Lippman stepped into a genre that is not her stronghold: the human nature. When I bought the book expected her great mystery work. I hope she goes back to it.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
It was a different time growing up in the 70's and 80's you had the freedom to roam unsupervised and be independent in a way that will never happen again. A group of children met one summer with different backgrounds, home environments, and sexes never giving any of that a thought, only worrying about the next great adventure and challenge the parental boundaries. Tim, Sean and Gordon or "Go-Go" to everyone who knew him were the wild Halloran brothers who befriended two girls Mickey and Gwen and all of their lives took on new meaning. They were young when the escapades started and grew up together experimenting with finding out as much about each other as they did themselves. Go-Go was never as fast or quite as bright as the rest but he kept up even when they tried to lose him. They got into all manner of mischief including the discovery of an abandoned cabin with a strange man living inside. This man had no name and the mystery of who he was and where he came from was too intoxicating to this fearless five. The kids believed he was harmless, but that is the problem when you are young you trust everyone, sometimes the wrong one. Growing up was painful, when they parted it was with bitterness. After years of separation, the building of lives independent from each other they are reunited by Go-Go's sudden and horrific death. No one wants to believe it could be suicide but everyone thinks that his actions don't add up to accidental death. When the group of five now down to four start to remember the events of their time in the woods some of the secrets that should have stayed buried start to surface. Each of them knows something they don't want to share but no one can keep a secret and the four of them are determined to piece together what factor drove them apart and the one thing each of them wished had gone in a different direction. There was jealousy, manipulation, and some strange behavior but did any of that make the night of storm less real and more imagined? This book took me completely by surprise. Not that I did not think I was going to like the book as I am a Laura Lippman fan, but that she had taken her writing in a different direction. This book is gripping, suspenseful and feels too real for comfort but you can't put it down. Childhood stories are usually told as happy and wonderful times which is the white-washed version we remember, but when you peel back the layer what you find is not quite as innocent as we thought it was. My only objection was with some loose ends that did not get tied up enough for me but I am a close the book, close the story, and not have questions type of reader.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1977 in the Baltimore suburb Dickeyville the three Halloran brothers (Gordon aka Go-Go, Tim and Sean), and their friends Gwen and Mickey did everything together especially in playing in Leakin Park. Go-Go the youngest of the siblings dominates his older brothers. Mickey the tomboy loved being outside perhaps because her mom has a propensity for nasty men. Overweight Gwen feared she will be ugly but also is scared that if she becomes a beauty like her mom she will be depressed and melancholy also like her mom. However, a violent tragedy in the woods ends their camaraderie. Three decades later, a recovering alcoholic, Go-Go is intoxicated when he drives his car into a wall. Tim lives nearby with his with his wife Arlene and his widowed mother Doris. Sean married to Vivian arrives from Florida. Mickey the flight attendant comes home for the funeral. Finally Gwen the reporter, as she is about to be divorced, forces the survivors to look at their childhood bond and what shattered it. The Most Dangerous Thing is a super look at the child is the adult as the incident in the woods is the final shaping of the quintet. Character driven as the five and other family members have diverse personalities, Laura Lippmann writes a deep look at childhood and adulthood. Tess Monaghan makes a cameo appearance, but her fans will still appreciate this strong glimpse at adults whose memories of childhood in 1977 make for a fascinating thriller. Harriet Klausner
Twink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura Lippman is another favourite author who has taken a break from their recurring character (Tess Monaghan) to pen another stand alone novel.The Most Dangerous Thing is the story of five childhood friends - Mickey, Gwen, Sean, Tim and Gordon aka Gogo - in the Baltimore area. They spend the summer of 1977 running through the woods near their homes, until a tragic event changes everything. Fast forward - Gogo has died and the others gather for the first time in twenty years. Was Gogo's death an accident or suicide? Could the events from that long ago time still be affecting the present? For each of them? What really happened? They never spoke of it aloud after that day.Each character (and a few more including the parents of the five) recounts their take on the event and what ripples and changes it may have caused in their lives. But the incident is not the only topic of each character - their hopes, dreams and disappointments are all fodder for each 'vignette'. Definitely a character driven novel.I chose to listen to this book in audio format and I'm glad I did. I don't honestly think I would have enjoyed it as much in written form. (Or would it have kept my interest) Listening to reader Linda Emond made it a little more intimate, more like listening to someones thoughts and conversations with themselves. Emond's voice has rich undertones. She reads in a well modulated tone and pace, conveying the introspection of each character well.The events of that day are central to the book and I wanted to find out what really happened. I don't think you could slot this book into any one category. There is a mystery, but It would also fit just as well into contemporary fiction - exploring the themes of friendship, betrayal, jealousy, guilt and much more. A cameo appearance by Tess Monoghan ensures that her life is moving forward and that we can hope to see a new book about her soon. The most dangerous thing?.......a secret?.....or the truth?......
INTPLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura Lippman is a writer with a unique voice that I happen to enjoy. It always takes me a while to get "into" her books.... I start reading thinking, 'Meh, this is ok' and end up really being drawn into her stories.The ending of this book is both a twist AND not unexpected. It feels natural. A twist that isn't unrealistic, I guess.I know that not everyone remembers their childhood thoughts as well as others do. If you are one of those people who DO remember well, you'll find her writing nostalgic. Not sure if that's the right word exactly. Accurate-nostalgic-believable.I'm not sure that I would recommend this as a first intro to Lippman's books, but if you're a fan already, you'll enjoy it.
blockbuster1994 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't say this was a favorite read at all. At times, it was monotonous to slog through the lives and history of the various characters--there are many characters, so there is a lot of background. I did not really connect to one person. In fact, I cringed every time I encountered the moniker "Go-Go". As one of the more supposedly sympathetic persons, I felt nothing for Go-Go; no connection with his personal demons. However, The Most Dangerous Thing is written by a gifted master who very talented in her craft. I did want to see were Lippman's efforts led me. I had to hear the story out. What unfolded was family drama, meant to be sensational in its punch, but to me, disappointing in its finale. In the end, life just went on with no real personal growth or revelations for these people. If these suburban Baltimore families had never existed in their fictional world, no loss to me at all.
teeth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was not one of my favorites. In fact it was quite boring! it was about three families who kept secrets and in the end it affected all their lives.
jonesli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Laura Lippman's work. This story about five friends; Gordon (GoGo), Mickey, Gwen, Sean and Tim was very character driven with a slightly weak plot.The five friends make a habit of playing in the woods near their homes, until a tragic event occurs which alters their lives and their parents lives forever.The story drags between past and present without a clear understanding of whose story is being told.
hellonicole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been on a mystery kick lately, and Lippman's The Most Dangerous Thing seemed a good fit. But instead the story moved at a snail's pace, with characters that I could not bring myself to care about. I even found myself not at all wondering what the big reveal was going to be. I had to force myself through to the end.
Bellettres on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Five children play in the woods near their homes, despite their parents' warnings about danger. Tim, Sean, and Go-Go are brothers. Mickey and Gwen are the girls who join them for adventures. A terrible event occurs one summer evening in 1979, and the five kids are affected even thirty years later. Laura Lippman is a gifted writer, both in terms of story line and language. The primary message seems to be that keeping secrets works its way through the generations, resulting in dysfunctional marriages, poor life choices, misunderstandings of gargantuan proportions. It struck me, though, that this is pretty much a portrait of 21st century families in the USA, whether or not they've experienced traumatizing events as children.Lippman's characters are well-drawn, although it helped me to jot down the names and relationships of the members of the three families, since the parents also play an important role in the dynamics of this novel. The shifts from present to distant past to mid-past made it somewhat difficult to figure out who knew what when. I would have given another half-star if I hadn't had to keep referring to my notes in order to keep things straight. An absorbing read, regardless.
AliciaClark23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story about 5 children who are forever changed by the events that occur the night of Hurricane David in Baltimore, Maryland in 1979. The story begins with the death of "Go-Go" who was one of the 5. The other 4 members of the group, along with their parents are left to deal with the aftermath. The reader doesn't find out the truth about what happened the night of the hurricane until the very end of the book. The story moved along at a good pace and kept me guessing the whole time. I had never read anything by Laura Lippman before this, but I would read more of her work based on The Most Dangerous Thing. The interesting thing about this book is that there really is not a "heroic" character or someone you can really admire because they all are quite troubled. I understand, however, the motivations behind each character's decisions except for Mickey. Despite her troubled upbringing, I had difficultly grasping her actions and felt the author needed to make her just a little more sympathetic. If you are looking for a feel good book this is definitely not for you, but if you want a suspenseful read that challenges your assumptions this book will keep your interest.
maryintexas39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow. A powerhouse of a novel! I've always liked Laura Lippman's stand -alone's better than her Tess Monaghan novels. In this stand-alone she brings Tess into the picture. Granted it's a small part of the story but I thought it blended well. This suspenseful novel is about 5 adults who were friends for a year or so in their younger days. Something bad happened and all have suffered in some way from the incident. The writing and characterization is grand, and just when you think you have it figured out! This is a great read!!!!
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the Dickeyville area of Baltimore, five friends meet and bond. They form a group that they compare with the five arms of a starfish. They are Gwen, the Halloran brothers, Tim, Sean and Go Go, and the other girl, Mickey Wykoff.They lived in a middle-class neighborhood where their parents didn't have to monitor their activities.the story moves from the late 1970s to current time.In the current day, Gwen returns home to care for her aged father who had injured his hip in a fall. While home, she meets Sean Halloran who informs her that his brother Go Go had died from suicide.We learn of the character's lives since their childhood. Gwen had married a successful surgeon but doesn't know if she wants to live in a home where he is the only thing that mattered.In 1978 the friends used to play in Leaken Park and while exploring came upon an abandoned cabin now being used by a homeless man they refer to as Chicken George.The next year, Sean and Gwen were dating and Mickey and Go Go are at the cabin and there is an incident with Chicken George.The facts of this incident vary depending on who is telling the story but it has a major effect on the futures of the friends and their parents.the novel is entertaining but leaves the reader with a sadness that the innocence of childhood is such a fleeting thing.
Beecharmer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of 5 young friends and the summer that changed everything for them. Gwen is the daughter of a dr. and Mickey is the daughter of a single mother who is most concerned with herself. The three boys(Sean, Tim & Gordon) are sons of an abusive, prejudiced man. Gordon is the youngest and also somewhat manic. The five friends meet ¿Chicken George¿ who is a vagrant that lives at the edge of the woods. The night that "Chicken George" died Mickey claims he was sexually abusing Gordon. Mickey catches him and pushes George and he falls and hits his head. When Gordon dies in a drunk driving accident, the old friends reunite for his funeral. Gwen and Tim put their heads together and discover the truth of that night.I loved the characters in this book, but did not care for the ending.
smik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some will argue that THE MOST DANGEROUS THING is again not strictly crime fiction (I seem to be reading a few of those recently) and I think it will appeal to many who do not generally read the genre. That said, there is murder, and there is mystery aplenty.Five children, three boys from one family and two girls from separate families, four of them of an age and one of the boys quite a bit younger, become a coalition, a group. Over a period of three years they explore the swampy forest on the land that abuts their homes. Their parents are busy leading their lives and are not particularly concerned what their children might be up to. Quite a considerable part of the novel details what growing up in these very different families is like. When they are finally and inevitably separated by school, college, or a new house, they and their parents share a secret that the children, and some of the parents, only half understand.The perspective of the novel is nearly three decades on when one of the five dies in a car accident that could be suicide. Lippman cleverly fills the reader in on the separate paths each of the children have taken in life. The structure of the novel is designed to make you think: from sections labelled GO-GO, US, THEM, and PITY THEM to the occasional time frames used as chapter headings: Summer 1978, Autumn 1979 etc.So, Lippman probably does achieve what it seems she set out to do: a cross-genre novel that talks about growing up, shared secrets, and things you may find it hard to talk about later in life.A very interesting read.
Schatje on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the late 1970s, five childhood friends (Gwen, Mickey, Sean, Tim and Go Go)spend their free time exploring the woods outside their Baltimore neighbourhood. Then a tragedy occurs which changes their lives and those of their parents. It is a tragedy which they never discuss until Go Go's death (accident or suicide?) brings them together. Gradually the truth of what really happened in the woods is revealed. The viewpoints of the friends are given, as are those of the parents. Everyone's motivation is examined. The problem is that irrelevant information is often included. For example, Gwen's mother was an unfulfilled artist who constantly wondered whether she made a mistake by marrying young. These details add nothing to the plot. Virtually every character suffers from depression and guilt about some choice made in the past. In essence there is too much analysis and retrospection and not enough drama. The revelations at the end are anticlimactic because it is obvious which characters lied and what they lied about.In the recounting of the childhood escapades, the use of first person plural narration - the "royal we" - is very annoying. Sentences like, "And then we met the man who lived in the woods" suggest that one of the five is the narrator, but then all five are identified in the third person. This narrative technique does nothing but irritate. Collective experience and/or guilt can be conveyed without resorting to such distracting tactics. Furthermore, the childhood friends are all so self-absorbed that suggesting they can think or speak as a unit is not convincing.The novel examines a number of subjects: friendship, jealousy, secrecy, guilt, and forgiveness. Obviously, the idea that the past and its secrets are always part of the present is a major theme.What is the most dangerous thing? A secret? The truth? People's good intentions? The reader will have to decide for him/herself if he/she decides to read this not-so-thrilling "thriller."
caroren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Years ago, they were all the best of friends. But as time passed and circumstances changed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past¿and the terrible lie they all shared. But now Gordon, the youngest and wildest of the five, has died and the others are thrown together for the first time in years.And then the revelations start.Could their long-ago lie be the reason for their troubles today? Is it more dangerous to admit to what they¿ve done or is it the strain of keeping the secret that is beginning to wear on them and everyone close to them? Each one of these old friends has to wonder if their secret has been discovered¿and if someone within the circle is out to destroy them.
crazy4reading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by Laura Lippman. I have a few of her books but I just haven't gotten around to reading them just yet.The Most Dangerous Thing is about a group of children and their families during the 70's and 80's. The main characters are Gwen, Mickey, and the three Halloran brothers named, Sean, Tim and Gordon or also known as Go-Go. This is back in the time when parents would let their children go outside and not worry about the dangers out there. These five children would hike through Leakin Park beyond where they knew there parents wouldn't let them go if they really knew.The book goes from the present to the past in the chapters. You would be reading about any one of the main characters in the future and then they would start remembering things from the past. When you start reading The Most Dangerous Thing you read about Go-Go in the present day. He is thrown out of a bar and winds up killing himself either by accident or suicide, no one really knows. This is what begins the story of what really happened to Go-Go in the woods the day of the hurricane.I enjoyed the book and how you realize that what had happened that one day in the park altered those five children and their respective lives. They lost touch with each other, became jealous of what the other one had and how they thought each one had it better then they did.
vindemia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since I am from Baltimore (the setting for this, and most of her books), Laura Lippman is an author that I enjoy reading. I was excited to have received this book as an Early Reviewer but am sad to say that I couldn't get into it. The more I read it, the less I cared about what the "truth" was going to turn out to be.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura Lippman is one of my favorite authors so when I was given this book to review, I thought "great" I'll have a good book to read and a easy review to write. Nope. For me, this book fell short of Ms. Lippman's usual great stories. I had a very difficult time getting into it even though I was born and raised in Baltimore (where the story is set) and I was comfortable with the location/setting. The story lagged. A full hundred pages into it and I was still wondering what was going on. The characters seem 1 dimensional as if you could take them all and put them together to make one decent character. The story was choppy - bouncing from one time frame to another and never really getting any rhythm.I'm really sorry to say that I didn't like it, but I will not abandon an author of MS. Lippman's talents just because of one book.
acook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is a plot in here somewhere, but getting to it is a bit of a slog. Too much stream of conscienceness inside all the heads of the characters. The "mystery" becomes clear rather early on and I just wished the author would wrap things up, already. For more details you can read the reviews below.
tinkerbellkk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed the characters and the development of the story, I found book slightly long and drawn out. It was an interesting perspective to see how a situation in childhood can carry on throughout a person's adult life.