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Featured Selections for This Month
When I was invited to write a post about Beach Reads for the July newsletter, I reflected back to when I was an aspiring writer, long before I found an agent, signed a book deal, or plotted with an editor. Before I broke in as a writer I harbored a fantasy of someday walking along a beach and spotting someone reading one of my books. Sunglasses in place, cold drink next to them, and a Charlie Donlea thriller in front of their face. Because I’m such an avid fan of beach reading, I’ve forever been curious about which authors make it to the tropics. From John Grisham to James Patterson, Lisa Jackson to Elin Hilderbrand, when vacationing I’m fascinated to see which authors fellow travelers take with them to the beach. I’d always hoped to someday be one of the chosen.
During a signing for my first novel I confessed my dream of one day spotting a vacationer reading my book on the beach. Weeks later, photos flooded my inbox of readers enjoying Summit Lake on vacation. Not quite the same as stomping through the sand and stumbling on a fan who has my book in their hands, but still quite a thrill.
Don’t Believe It is my third novel, and with a June pub date it’s my first summertime release. It has all the elements of a Beach Read, and not just because the book takes place in the Caribbean, but also because I finished writing it there. My wife and I were headed to St. Lucia to celebrate our anniversary when my editor sent his final revision notes along with a two-week deadline to complete them. So, along with my sunscreen and swim trunks, I also packed my laptop before jumping on a plane to the beach.
I learned that there’s no greater inspiration for putting the final touches on a novel than sitting on a patio that overlooks the Caribbean Sea with the twin Pitons of St. Lucia next to me.
It was surreal to write the last sentence of my novel while vacationing at the very resort where the story takes place. Because I was enjoying all the perks of a great beach vacation while I was writing what I hoped would become a great beach read, I made sure to include in the pages all the ammunition needed to fend off the inherent pitfalls of reading in the sand. The book opens with a grisly murder, which should help keep your attention when distractions like sunsets, surf and scantily clad men and women are in front of you. I included enough twists to keep you focused through your mid-afternoon rum buzz. And the ending is so haunting that it should have you sunburned from forgetting to reapply. I can dream, anyways.
Speaking of dreaming, with Don’t Believe It just hitting bookstore shelves, I’ve still never come across anyone reading my books on the beach. Maybe that’ll change this July when my family and I head to Hawaii for two weeks. I’m not sure exactly how I would react if I came face-to-face with a fan flipping the pages of my novel on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica’s Bloody Bay, Kauai’s Hanalei Bay, or St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach where the novel takes place. I’d like to think I’d approach and ask how they’re enjoying their beach read, introduce myself as the author, and buy them a rumrunner to thank them for reading my book. But I know myself better than that. In reality, I’d just keep walking, kicking through the sand while sipping my own rum punch and trying unsuccessfully to suppress the smile on my face from knowing that I made it to the tropics with Grisham and Patterson, Jackson and Hilderbrand.
Happy beach reading, all summer long…
Books We Can’t Wait to Share – Staff Picks
Reviewed by James
I’m not convinced that “unputdownable” is a word. But if it were, I’d use it to describe SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS. I devoured the book in a single setting, and since I’m only a casual thriller reader, that says a lot about how much I loved this book. I’m a newcomer to Charlie Donlea’s novels, and SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS instantly propelled him to become one of my favorite authors of all time.
It’s summer in Chicago, and in a story ripped <a href=”https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-thomas-kokoraleis-ripper-crew-free-20190329-story.html”>straight from the headlines</a>, a convicted serial killer is about to walk free from prison. The only person who can stop him is Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist who must unearth what really happened to the killer’s final victim 40 years ago. When I first read the book, Rory was the reason I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. She is an unreliable narrator who suffers from OCD, and yet her compulsion with finding the truth gives her unparalleled skills in solving homicides. Rory is a breakout star in crime fiction, and I can’t wait for you to meet her.
If you need a chilling read to get you through the hot months of summer, then SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS is the book for you.