It’s been the perfect weather for reading in the garden and I’ve managed to spend these last few months whittling my list down so that I could recommend a great summer read, for my Summer 17 Degrees Column.
In this second post of three, I’m reviewing six books in a category I’ve called Drama & Darkness – there’s genuinely something here for everyone no matter what kind of thrills and chills you enjoy on your Summer hols…
The President Is Missing
Bill Clinton & James Patterson
And now for something completely different. This is sure to be a runaway bestseller this summer- a tale about a missing president told by… former POTUS, Bill Clinton in a unique collaboration with bestselling writer James Patterson. This exciting and innovative book combines the best of both worlds: its an insider’s story of exactly how the White House works, coupled with the narrative power of a writer at the top of his game. This gripping novel describes a terrifying three days in the corridors of power. Amid an international crisis, the President vanishes into thin air whilst his enemies are planning an attack of unprecedented scale on America. Uncertainty and fear grip Washington. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet. The President himself is even called into question as this fast-paced and gripping thriller thunders to a nail-biting conclusion. This unmissable collaboration is going to be a summer sizzler.
If you enjoy a book that breaks the mould, then you’re going to love Problems by Jade Sharma. Probably not one for sharing with your easily-shocked friends, but if you’re looking for a dark, provocative and edgy summer read then you’re going to love Maya and her no-holds-barred revelations. Just like Irvine Welsh in the 90’s, Sharma’s novel is in turns both hilarious and harrowing. Maya is having an affair with her married lecturer, is struggling with an eating disorder and her overdue dissertation and is hooked on heroin. Maya is a bit like Marmite: you’ll certainly have a strong response to her as she confronts you on the page with her caustic one-liners. Sharma is a performance poet and her lyrical and sharp turn of phrase is strikingly original and extremely clever. If you want your fiction to challenge you and your narrator to shock, then you’re going to love Problems. Stash it in your beach bag and enjoy.
You know that I always like to include a Scottish read in my column and this one is a cracker. Doug Johnstone has created an alternative Firth of Forth – with a volcanic island right in the middle of it. Surtsey is planning an assignation with her married lover Tom on the River Forth’s volcanic island The Inch when she discovers his dead body. Fearful of their affair coming to light, she decides to say nothing about her dreadful discovery – but it’s all too late. Someone knows exactly what’s been going on. This novel hurtles on at a cracking pace as we start to see the cracks appear in her life. You’ll be gripped by Johnstone’s twists and turns as you try and work out what exactly Surtsey has got herself caught up in and how it will all end. A thrilling and intelligent summer read that you won’t be able to put down.
The killer is on the jury. The question is why? If you love a courtroom drama, then you’re going to absolutely love Th1rt3en which takes the entire genre and turns it on its head in an unforgettable way. Normally in a courtroom novel, the bad guy is right there in the dock but this novel is something very different. In Th1rt3en, Joshua Kane has been rumbled. Someone knows that the real killer isn’t the man on trial and time is ticking by all too fast whilst Kane hopes for a quick conviction so that he can escape scot-free. This is a rollercoaster of a ride. Make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen before you start as once you begin, you won’t want to tear yourself away. I love Steve Cavanagh’s writing and if you’ve not discovered him yet, you’re in for a treat. A sharp, clever and twisty tale that I couldn’t put down.
When an eleven-year-old is found murdered in a local park, reliable eyewitnesses accuse the town’s popular sports coach, Terry Maitland. Shockingly, DNA evidence confirms that the crime was committed by well-respected coach Maitland. Horrified by the brutality of this killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was on Maitland’s team, orders his arrest in a very public spectacle. But there is a problem: Maitland has a cast-iron alibi. And their investigation confirms that he was definitely out of town. As the full horror begins to emerge, King’s gripping tale of unbearable suspense winds tighter and tighter, holding you in its grip until its nail-biting conclusion. A man cannot be in two places at the same time. Or can he? This is another five star read from Stephen King; I guarantee you won’t be able to look up until you’ve finished it.
Something in the Water
Erin is a successful filmmaker and fiance Mark is a handsome and successful investment banker. At the start of this novel, this golden couple seem to have it all until Mark loses his job. They go ahead with planning their dream honeymoon to Bora Bora and that’s where things begin to get sinister. Their scuba diving trip uncovers something in the water which they decide to keep under wraps. After all, if nobody knows about their discovery, there can’t be any consequences – or can they? Their silence sets in motion a terrifying chain of events where you’ll be on the edge of your seat, waiting to see if your darkest suspicions were correct. I’d love to see this one on the big screen: I’ve already cast the main characters so you’d better read it fast before it gets snapped up. This is a breathlessly tense beach read that you’ll be recommending to everyone.