ENGLEWOOD — The weather has finally warmed up and it’s the time of year people are thinking of vacationing, just getting outside or spending time lounging around a nice cool pool…with a good book to read! I’ve selected a potpourri of excellent summer reads, all mass paperbacks and all written by bestselling authors. Check them out, you might want to put them right on the top of your beach read list.
Mary Kay Andrews: A former reporter for The Atlanta Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. All of her mysteries have been nominated for the coveted Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity awards. She switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 which marked a change in her style to more southern-flavored themes. Three books I recommend are “Summer Rental,” “Spring Fever” and “Beach Town.” They are all “beach blanket sizzlers.” As one of the books suggests, “Sometimes the tide pulls you in the right direction.” Mary Kay’s books do that to you.
James Rollins: This is the pen name of American veterinarian James Paul Czaijkowski (no wonder he changed his name) and the author of ten thrillers in the bestselling Sigma Force Series beginning with “Sandstorm.” The Sigma Force is an elite covert arm of the U.S. Defense Department made up of special forces officers trained as experts in various scientific fields who thwart impending world destroying disasters. Rollins recently signed a $15 million multi-book deal with his publisher and currently has 6.7 million copies of his books in print in the U.S. In his latest, “The 6th Extinction,” a remote military station in northern California broadcasts a frantic distress call — “kill us all.” The head of station is kidnapped, 35 employees die along with 50 miles of vegetation, all wildlife and even bacteria. There is no doubt Rollins is at the top of the thriller charts.
Ann Rule: She is the author of 30 bestsellers all drawn from her real-life personal files. Known as America’s best true crime writer, she has a solid background in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. She was on the U.S. Justice Department Task Force that set up the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VI-CAP) now in place at the FBI. Her newest book, “Practice to Deceive,” is a mystery novel of drama, greed, sex, scandal and murder on an eerie island in the Pacific Northwest. Like good crime novels? You’ll really like this one!
Ace Atkins: He is now the writer of Robert B. Parker’s “Cheap Shot,” a Spenser novel. In December, 2013, I wrote about the death of Parker, Dean of American crime fiction, who died in 2010. This prolific writer of the Jesse Stone and Spenser mysteries left a substantial legacy of unpublished material that is now being released. Atkins was hand picked to carry on the Spenser series. In addition to the signature dialog, all of the familiar characters are resurrected — Susan, the sexy shrink; Pearl, the wonder dog; Hawk, the sidekick; good cop Quirk and Spenser, himself. Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Atkins’ gift could lead to a long run to the delight of Spenser devotees.” It’s great to see this series continues in good hands
Mary Alice Monroe: She is the author of two dozen novels and known for her intimate portrayals of women’s lives. Her writing has gained popularity with her books set in the low country of South Carolina. Her low country Summer Trilogy — “The Summer Girls,” “The Summer Wind” and “The Summer’s End,” are all set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Charleston Magazine wrote, “Distinct, complex and endearing characters, Mary Alice Monroe continues to make Charleston proud with her authentic and purposeful writings.
There you have it, five terrific authors who have written some refreshing reads to spice up your summer reading. These books all received four to five star ratings by readers on reviewer web sites. Enjoy your summer…and happy reading, everyone.