Monday, June 16, 2008

Beach Reads

As the summer heats up, many of us are dreaming of lazy days at the beach. Even if you won't be getting sand between your toes this year, you can take a virtual trip through fiction. Here are a few books with beach settings:

Beach House by James Patterson. Jack Mullen is in law school in New York City when the shocking news comes that his brother Peter has drowned in the ocean off East Hampton. As Jack tries to uncover the details of his brother's last night, he learns that Peter wasn't just parking cars at the summer parties of the wealthy--he was making serious money satisfying the sexual needs of the richest people in town.

Beach Music by Pat Conroy. Jack McCall, living in Rome with his daughter after the suicide of his wife, finds his solitude disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law. She begs his help in tracking down a former classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester--and never resurfaced.

The Body in the Lighthouse by Katherine Hall Page. "Escaping the misery of a particularly sweltering August in Aleford, Massachusetts, caterer and minister's wife Faith Fairchild and her family take a long drive to their favorite getaway, peaceful Sanpere Island off the coast of Maine. But things have changed since their last visit. The unique ambiance of Sanpere is being threatened by aggressive real estate developer Harold Hapswell, whose plans to fill the island with huge, showy new mansions has infuriated many residents. Tensions are high, with animosity between year-round islanders and "summer people" reaching dangerous new levels. It's no wonder that, in an atmosphere so thick with ill feeling, murder rears it ugly head." "The first outrage occurs when a successful real estate agent nearly dies after drinking a turpentine-laced cup of soda pop. Then, while exploring the grounds of Sanpere's historic, now-abandoned lighthouse, Faith has the misfortune of stumbling across the corpse of Harold Hapswell himself. His death is officially ruled an accident, but Faith's tried and true instincts tell her otherwise - an unsettling inkling that are confirmed by the discovery of a second, more obvious homicide." "With fear running rampant throughout the island and volatile emotions approaching a detonation point, the intrepid amateur investigator knows she must throw caution to the wind and track down a murderer, for the sake of an innocent friend and the island she loves - even if it means placing her own life in peril."--from the BOOK JACKET.

Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods. Ex-major Holly Barker is now the deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. When two men are gunned down, she and her doberman Daisy investigate.

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks. On the shores of Cape Cod, a single mother discovers a bottle containing a poignant message--a deeply-felt love letter that launches her on a mysterious voyage of self-discovery and renewal. On her journey, she finds a remarkable man who restores her faith in love and kindles in her a conviction that star-crossed lovers will find each other across time and space.

Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons. "They are love, those rare early friendships." As she travels to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a reunion with three of her college chums, Kate Abrams ponders the past. Had she ever known anyone as intimately as these three? There's smart, tough Cecie; foolish, lonely Fig; and pert, wealthy Ginger, who married young Kate's great love. Kate wonders whether such sublime bonds -- and such deep betrayals -- can survive the years. She is, after all, no stranger to life's ironies. Her father, a poor Southerner, filled her life with social illusions -- and took his life in the process. Her husband sustained her through later deaths. And now an ongoing battle with cancer puts Kate's own life on the line. Forced to face dark truths about her 'golden' past, Kate discovers the meaning of life and the power of true friendship. Mystery, madness, revenge and awakening await Kate Abrams on the Outer Banks.

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