Chances are, you’ll be lounging around outside much more now that it’s summer. Why not do it with a book? Here are some great thrillers and mysteries for those long days on the balcony or the beach:
Quiver: A Novel by Holly Luhning
The first novel from Canadian author Holly Luhning (just published in February this year) is a deliciously juicy suspense novel that involves a romp across eastern Europe, diary accounts of Elizabeth Bathory, a medieval countess who used to drink virgins’ blood to maintain her youth. It’s salacious and scandalous read for a day at the beach.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro is a master of small but devastating personal epiphanies. His universes are small, but incredibly detailed, with a flawed first-person narrator who infers his blind spots or faults through omission, rather than exposition. In this earlier novel (which was adapted into a film with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson), Ishiguro explores the dark undertones of “tradition” in many senses of the word – the English aristocracy, as well as the rigid etiquette that forbids direct expression of one’s thoughts. Told through the perspective of the loyal English butler Stevens, the book will both frustrate you and break your heart in little increments leading up to a quietly devastating climax at the end.
Libra by Don DeLillo
Shameful confession – this was on the syllabus for one of my graduate classes in contemporary American literature, but I never ended up reading it for the course. Now that I’ve got it off my chest, I did pick it up last summer for a long plane ride and regretted not reading it sooner. Following the events leading up to John F. Kennedy’s assassination, DeLillo masterfully weaves together the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination, as well as details of Lee Harvey Oswald’s troubled life and troubling convictions to tell a powerful study of masculinities and political intrigue.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Narrated in the voice of a 9-year-old Oskar who lost his father on September 11, 2001, Foer’s novel takes the reader on an unexpected journey through New York City and shows off its incredible diversity while solving the mystery of a key left behind by Oskar’s father.
The City & The City by China Mieville
In this time of paranoia and Islamophobia, Mieville’s story of a fictional Christian city of Beszel and its Muslim neighbour Ul Qoma is a completely apt and fascinating one. The thriller begins with a murder in Beszel that takes its detective Borlu to the mysterious Islamic counterpart. Not only does Mieville’s book spin a great murder mystery, it also taps into the historical battles of negotiating religious and cultural differences. You will learn the whole new way of seeing – and “unseeing” – as you move through the book.