Something to wet your appetite:
The Girl on The Best Seller List by Vin Packer
Finally, Gloria Whealdon has fame and wealth, thanks to the scathing novel she wrote about her hometown. Gloria’s book, “Population 12,360” is a page-turner full of rumor and idiosyncrasies all small towns seem to have. There’s the dumb jock turned Physical Education teacher turned joke who happens to be Milo, Gloria’s husband. What about the author’s one and only friend, the once socialite, Fern, who settled into a marriage, has a cross-eyed daughter, Virginia, and is having an affair with her psychiatrist, Jay Mannerheim—who by the way isn’t a real doctor, just a psychiatrist. No one is spared from Gloria’s barbs and jabs.
This pop fiction isn’t the thrill-ride it’s labeled as, but it’s a fun, and quick summer read with the quest to find out, not who wanted Gloria Whealdon dead, but who didn’t.
A Meaty Main Dish Book Bite:
The Only Story by Julian Barnes
London England, the 1960’s, Paul Casey is only nineteen-years-old and home from University for the summer. He meets forty-eight-year-old, Susan Macleod when the two are thrown together as partners in a doubles tennis tournament and start an affair. It’s only Susan’s abusive husband, her two daughters, Paul’s parents, and most of his friends, as well as the people of the Tennis Club that has a problem with the match—what could possibly go wrong? Maybe his age and worldly inexperience? Or her alcoholism and the husband she never divorces?
Beautifully soulful and sad, The Only Story is a love tale with underlying caution—is it better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all? Barnes suggests, perhaps not. If you need a little more intellect injected into your summer romance read, this book is for you.
A Dessert type of book:
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Camille Preaker is a broken thirty-something-year-old journalist sent on assignment to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. Over two years, a second Wind Gap girl has gone missing, and Camille’s boss smells a scoop that none of his competing Chicago newspapers have picked up on.
It has been years since Camille raced down Main Street beyond her cold mother, her banal stepfather, and her sister’s death, that she hasn’t even gotten to know her thirteen-year-old half-sister Amma.
Dark secrets loom over the town of Wind Gap, a darkness that forced Camille to run from in the first place. Now, Camille has two choices; refuse to return and possibly lose her job and livelihood, or go back, ripping open old wounds and risking her already fragile sanity.
A fun and gripping psychological thriller, if not a bit far-fetched in believability, Flynn is a champion in depicting crazed lunatics as is evident from this book’s protagonist and antagonist. Intrigue and plot twist abundant, this is a read that no one but Flynn can write.
A Main Dish read with a Dessert type aftertaste:
When She Was Gone by S.A. Dunphy
Eighteen-years-ago four-year-old Beth was kidnapped right under the nose of her Criminologist uncle, Davey Dunnigan. One day a package arrives at his door, and the cold case is brought back to painful life. Dunnigan and his friends, Miley a thirty-year-old man with Down Syndrome and Dianne his sort-of girlfriend and special forces nurse follow the clues first across Ireland to a secluded psychiatric hospital and then on to an Inuit village in northern Greenland, but are they too late?
Can the trio outmaneuver the narcissistic and homicidal psychiatrist and his mangy sidekick or the local bigoted police in Greenland in time?
Dunphy’s novel felt similar to Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, with subject matter revolving around gangsters, human trafficking, unusual characters, and an antagonist with something to prove. However, this is not a bad thing. Dunphy gives us a look at a world that most do not see when gazing out their front window. Thrilling and smart, once this book is started, it’ll take the Jaws of Life to put it down.