August 12, 2013

Beach Novels

My brother is looking for some novels for his upcoming beach vacation. I tend to like mystery and crime novels for the beach, and most of these fit that category:

1. Gone Girl, or anything by Gillian Flynn. Flynn is the American Stieg Larsson: endlessly fascinating and readable. Gone Girl, a novel about a missing wife, has been the It Book of the past year, but all three of her novels are great.

2. Faithful Place, by Tana French. A Dublin police officer goes back to his old neighborhood and abrasive family to investigate a long-ago crime. French has written four crime novels, two of which are among my favorites of all time, and two of which were just okay for me. This one is five star.

3. Headhunters, or anything by Jo Nesbo. I've never read a Nesbo novel I didn't think was great, but this one is the most juicy combination of crime, mystery, irony, and humor. Perfection.

4. Where'd You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple. Another missing person scenario but completely different. Not a crime novel, just the story of an eccentric woman and her daughter, who tries to track her down by sifting through her old emails. Fun, smart, and with something to say.

5. American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld. This is the wild card. Not really a beach read but such a good novel that I can't exclude it. A fictionalized imagining of the life of Laura Bush, it's not an exercise in novelty but a great psychological novel that is really memorable.

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