Summer may not technically start until June, but you can get a head start on summer reading now. And summer reading isn’t just for kids! Adults can sign up at librarypoint.org/summer, opens a new window to partake in fun activities and log reading to earn a limited-edition pen as well as enter to win one of 12 bags of books.
Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, or the hammock in the backyard, books are faithful companions, even when said books contain psychological suspense, buried secrets, and unreliable narrators. Here are some recently published mysteries and thrillers to help you escape from everyday life while helping you reach your summer reading goals. I’m all booked for the summer…how about you?
The Last Word, opens a new window by Taylor Adams
Forming the perfect backdrop to this suspenseful thriller is an old, isolated beachfront home in rainy Washington state where Emma is house-sitting with her golden retriever Laika. Emma’s only contacts are her elderly neighbor and, via text, the house’s owner. One day, she reads a grisly, badly written horror novel by author H. G. Kane, and posts a one-star review that ends up in an online argument with Kane himself. All of a sudden, alarming incidents start happening, and they seem more than coincidental. Emma begins researching Kane and learns he has published sixteen tales of stalking and murder. What else is Kane capable of, and how did he find Emma?
The Gulf, opens a new window by Rachel Cochran
In the 1970s, in the small town of Parson, Texas, Lou is renovating a decrepit old mansion for Miss Kate, her beloved older neighbor and mother figure. Lou just wants to find peace in Parson as she mourns her brother’s death, but, when Miss Kate is murdered, Lou’s dreams are crushed. Only Lou seems to care about finding her friend’s killer, and things are further complicated when Joanna, Kate’s estranged daughter, and Lou’s first love, arrives in Parson. Joanna’s arrival unleashes dark secrets surrounding the town’s history and its residents, which may be the key Lou needs to uncover the truth of Miss Kate’s death and her killer.
All The Sinners Bleed, opens a new window by S.A. Cosby
Anthony Award-winning author and Virginia native Cosby is back with another edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. After a career as an FBI agent, Titus Crown returns to his rural home of Charon County. Wanting to turn Charon’s bigoted police force around, Crown runs for sheriff and wins, becoming the first Black sheriff in the county’s history. One year later, Crown is investigating a high school shooting that leaves a history teacher and his killer dead. Uncovering evidence that both men were involved in the ritualistic killing of seven Black children over the years, Crown is determined to seek the truth no matter what. It’s no easy feat for a Black policeman in a small American South town that keeps its secrets close.
Exiles by Jane Harper
Harper’s newest Aaron Falk mystery is not to be missed, especially when you catch it on audio, narrated by Steve Shanahan. The novel opens at a crowded festival on a warm spring night, where a baby lies alone in her stroller, her mother vanishing into the fray. One year later, Kim Gillespie’s friends and loved ones are feeling her absence sorely as they gather in South Australian wine country to welcome a new member of the family. It’s assumed by most that Kim took her own life, while Kim’s teenage daughter, Zoe, has never believed it. Federal investigator Aaron Falk, first featured in the novel and major feature film “The Dry,” is present for the celebration of his godson’s christening and is ready to enjoy his time in the valley. But Zoe and her friend Joel, who lost his father in an unsolved accident years before, are hoping to resume the search for the truth of Kim’s death. Falk is pulled into the investigation, soon realizing the group of friends and family aren’t as close as they appear, and that there are plenty of suspects and motives that could lead to some answers.
The Nigerwife, opens a new window by Vanessa Walters
Leaving behind a tumultuous past in London, Nicole Oruwari now appears to have a perfect life, with a handsome husband, a luxurious home in Lagos, Nigeria, and a new set of sophisticated friends, the Nigerwives. When Nicole disappears during a boat trip, however, it becomes apparent that her life’s perfection is a façade. Frustrated by a dead-end investigation, Nicole’s aunt Claudine flies to Nigeria to dig into her niece’s life, revealing dark secrets and violence. And the more Claudine discovers about Nicole, the more her own hidden history emerges.
Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.