Laura Lippman

Prom Mom

"...a brilliant novel, from an author at the very top of her game."


Amber Glass has spent her entire adult life putting as much distance as possible between her and her hometown of Baltimore, where she fears she will forever be known as ‘Prom Mom’. Amber was given this name by the tabloid press after she allegedly killed her baby on the night of her prom when her date, Joe Simpson, abandoned her to pursue the girl he really liked. When circumstances bring Amber back to the city, she realizes she can have a second chance - as long as she stays away from Joe, now a successful commercial real estate developer, married to a plastic surgeon, Meredith, to whom he is devoted.

The problem is, Amber can't stay away from Joe. And Joe finds that it's increasingly hard to ignore Amber, if only because she remembers the boy he was and the man he said he was going to be. Against the surreal backdrop of 2020 and early 2021, the two are slowly drawn to each other and eventually cross the line they've been trying not to cross. Then Joe asks Amber to help him do the unthinkable . . . and she must decide if she is willing to let their toxic and dangerous past repeat itself.

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I love Laura Lippman’s books and ‘Prom Mom’ is as good as any she’s written so far. Lippman has written a clever, complex novel that kept me gripped until the final, shocking twist at the end. In their own way, each of the three central characters – Amber, Meredith and Joe are not who we first think they are. Joe, in particular, is a deeper, darker person than we are first led to believe. Hauntingly, the novel is set at the start of the global Coronavirus pandemic that changed life so dramatically for all of us. Lippman perfectly captures the weirdness of that time, showing the different ways it affects Meredith, Amber and Joe. As life slows down because of the pandemic, the pace of the novel increases – building with a growing sense of dread to its shocking finale. This is a brilliant novel, from an author at the very top of her game. It’s intelligent, thought-provoking and gripping. It also stayed with me long after I finished it. A highly recommended read.

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