I don’t know about you, but when I’m vacationing on the beach, all I want is a comfy chair, the sound of the waves, and a book that will usher me into a different world. No deep critical thinking analyses. Just a page-turner.
This past winter while “snow-birding” in Florida, I stumbled upon the best little books. Quick reads that grabbed my attention in the first paragraph, but still well-written. No Flowers in the Attic, folks. So if you’re planning a beach vacation, here are my suggestions for some suspenseful summer reading.
Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard – Loved this book! A page-turner from the beginning, with an insidious tone of a disaster waiting to happen. Well written with a beguiling and mixed cast of characters, they represent many of the people we meet in our actual lives. Helen, a young mother who loses custody of her son and is struggling emotionally and financially. A wealthy couple who offer her friendship and support. However, Helen soon discovers that the help of her new charismatic friends comes at a hefty price.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – If you haven’t yet seen the movie, don’t. Read the novel instead. Although it is frequently compared to Gone Girl, I found it to be a much more interesting read, holding your attention from page one. A quick and engrossing read.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – What peeked my interest about this book was the mention that it was being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Think of it as a modern day session of Clue. Old friends gathered for a bachelorette party. In a spacious, secluded mansion. On a dark, dark night. And someone gets shot. Although well-written, it is not a literary masterpiece. It is, however, an edge-of-your-seat thriller and a quick and easy read for a day on the beach.
After Anna by Alex Lake – Once I read this description by Goodreads, I knew I had to read it. And I was right. “A girl is missing. Five years old, taken from outside her school. She has vanished, traceless. The police are at a loss; her parents are beyond grief. Their daughter is lost forever, perhaps dead, perhaps enslaved. But the biggest mystery is yet to come: one week after she was abducted, their daughter is returned. She has no memory of where she has been. And this, for her mother, is just the beginning of the nightmare.”
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – You can read my full review of this novel here, but let me just say this. Best book I’ve read so far this year. Controversial? Yes. Disturbing? Yes. Memorable? Absolutely. A beautifully written novel that will pull at your heartstrings.