Cathy Austin June’21

Get Out of Town!: Summer Book Bites

By Cathy Austin

Another summer of COVID-19 uncertainty – can we travel or should we? Maybe home is the best place! Here’s what to read as we lounge in our yards or parks:

Thrillers always top the summer reading list, fast and furious like Third Degree by Greg Iles. Published a few years ago, the action takes place in the deep South. Both the hubby and I agreed a bunch of pages could have been edited near the end. It bogs down a bit, but the plot, characters, and setting all move this thriller along nicely. Adultery, audit, Medicare scam, politics – it’s all here along with larger-than-life characters.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell is a thoughtful mystery, more than a thriller, but it is certainly a page turner. Fingers point to a man who did not do a sexual assault, missing the person close to home who perhaps did do it, and several in the quiet streets of an English town outside of London. Jewell’s books have an uncanny way of getting into the main characters heads with accuracy, and in this one, the mom, the daughter and son shine, along with Safire, the invisible girl of the title. The plot becomes twisty, and the ending is remarkable. Lovely style and writing.

Shari Lapena’s The End of Her is somewhat shocking, a real page turner. So much is happening, so many secrets unfold, peeling back layers of a young wife and husband in an upstate New York town coping with twin baby girls. There is the mystery of his first wife’s death and trust becomes the biggest stumbling block with all the key characters, including an old lover of the husband’s who shows up out of the blue. All kinds of things to mess up a marriage. A real nail biter.

For some fantastic old-timey mystery thriller action, check out veteran writer the late Helen MacInnis’ trio of books, Above Suspicion, North from Rome, and Double Image. The first is set in the Alps, Austria’s lovely countryside. A London couple is enlisted by a friend who does some sanctioned spy work (circa pre-war 1939) to connect with a British spy in the Alps, a job only tourists can safely achieve. The ingenuity of the husband and wife is entertaining and brilliant, as is the action, setting, language and plot. Well enjoyed. North from Rome involves drug crimes/cartels in the early 60s. Another scenic and more convoluted politico read. Engaging characters and plot. Double Image is a real thriller set in Greece. A man, a simple tourist and historian, falls witness to a murder and is then enlisted by British operatives to suss out who the murderer/s, subsequently Russian spies are, where they are on a lovely Greek Island, and how can they be stopped. All characters, and there are many in this book, are unique and engaging. This book was published in late 1960s. All great throwbacks to fast action, snappy dialogue, old customs, and sensibilities!

Final superb road trip book: By Mike Wilson and Lance Hornby, The Ultimate Road Trip. Leafs fans will delight in this diary of the 2019 Hockey Season wherein Mike attends each and every Leafs game. Fabulous fan interviews, chats, signs, and backstories. You may be familiar with his name as he’s been dubbed the Ultimate Leafs Fan with a collection of memorabilia bar none! Fantastic read. The husband and I loved it.

However, you ‘get away from it all’, be safe, enjoy, stay well!