21 beach books: Something to satisfy any reader

  • Los Angeles Times
  • Monday, June 25, 2012 8:10pm
  • Life

Every summer, it seems, people are usually looking for a “good beach read,” even if they’re not going to the beach.

So whether you use a Kindle or Nook, hefty hard covers or lop-eared paperbacks, here are some recommendations for the porch or the plane.

“The After Wife” by Gigi Levangie Grazer ($25): A charming tale of a grieving 40-ish widow — and the wacky friends who love her — as she attempts to regain control of her life in the sometimes-surreal L.A. landscape.

“The Age of Doubt” by Andrea Camilleri ($15): In the latest in the author’s series, take another journey to Sicily with Inspector Montalbano, who seeks to penetrate the mystery surrounding two yachts and the discovery of a mutilated corpse.

“Beach Season” by Lisa Jackson, Cathy Lamb and Holly Chamberlin ($15): Can’t a good girl ever get a break in life and love? The tales of forlorn heroines gathered here are like a chocolate sampler: romantic, brief, sweet.

“Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Imperative” by Eric Van Lustbader, $27.99: Jason Bourne’s rescue of a drowning man not only reminds him of himself (the man’s an amnesiac, too), it raises plenty of questions. Why is he being stalked by the Mossad? Could he really be a legendary terrorist assassin, or is this a case of mistaken identity?

“Broken Harbor” by Tana French: ($27.95): Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy returns, in French’s latest, to investigate what appears to be a straightforward attack on a family in an Irish housing development, but nothing, Kennedy knows, is ever so simple.

“Capital” by John Lanchester ($26.95): In the shadow of terrorism and the 2008 global financial implosion, a cast of English characters are brought together via a strange message delivered on postcards in this latest by the author of “The Debt to Pleasure.”

“Creole Belle” by James Lee Burke ($27.99): Dave Robicheaux can’t get the song “Creole Belle” out of his mind or the New Orleans girl who disappeared after giving the song to him on an iPod. This leads to a new search against the backdrop of an oil rig disaster in the Gulf — and the threat posed to life along the coast.

“Criminal” by Karin Slaughter ($27): The brutal crime that started investigator Amanda Wagner’s career entwines with the mysterious, heartbreaking past of her colleague, agent Will Trent, in a tale spanning 40 years.

“The Family Corleone” by Ed Falco ($27.99): Mario Puzo’s saga of a crime family continues with a look back to the early 1930s and Sonny Corleone’s desire to join his father, Vito, in the family business.

“Growing Up Dead in Texas” by Stephen Graham Jones ($14.95): A novel of small-town lives in Texas and a young man’s return to find answers to unanswered questions about a disaster that affected the community many years ago.

“The Kingmaker’s Daughter” by Philippa Gregory ($26.99): Conspiracy and a fight to the death for love and power at the court of King Edward IV of England.

“A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar” by Suzanne Joinson ($26): A tale of two journeys: Two sisters embark on a bicycle trip on the Silk Road in 1923 and a present-day Londoner befriends a homeless Yemeni man.

“Little Night” by Luanne Rice ($26.95): Clare and her niece struggle to build a relationship that requires overcoming old family scars inflicted by Clare’s sister years ago.

“Mission to Paris” by Alan Furst ($27): In 1938 Europe, Hollywood star Frederic Stahl’s not only interesting to his French film crew, a Paris network of spies considers him a potentially valuable ally.

“Monarch Beach” by Anita Hughes ($14.99): Can a woman create a new life after her husband’s infidelity? The answer is yes for Amanda, a San Francisco heiress who ditches that fellow (a French chef).

“Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury” by Sam Weller and Mort Castle($15.99): A collection of 26 stories — including Neil Gaiman’s “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” — in honor of the maker of such classics as “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles.”

“The Sins of the Father” by Jeffrey Archer ($27.99): The second installment in Archer’s Clifton Chronicles, which started with “Only Time Will Tell,” revolves around a fake identity and follows Harry Clifton in the early days of World War II.

“Skinnydipping” by Bethenny Frankel ($25): The reality TV star offers a tale of — what else? — a frank-talking woman whose mouth gets her in trouble on a popular reality TV show. Her journey takes her from New York to L.A. to New York.

“The Storm” by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown ($27.95): A spreading black substance in the Indian Ocean: Is it oil or something far more deadly? It must be investigated by the NUMA Special Assignments Team … if it doesn’t kill them.

“The St. Zita Society” by Ruth Rendell ($26): Tranquillity reigns on an upscale London Street, but secrets lurk behind the elegance, including a disturbed gardener who thinks he hears the voice of God.

“Summer Breeze” by Nancy Thayer ($26): Summer offers a chance to deepen bonds, which three women discover at Dragonfly Lake in New England.

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