Off the Shelf: Summertime and the livin’ is… for reading

Now that the days are longer and getting hotter, it might be a good time to sit back with a good book.

Every year the five MacAllister siblings went to camp together because their parents owned and ran the camp. Now decades later, mostly estranged from each other, they are all returning to the scene of the crime to listen to the reading of their parent’s will. What crime? Twenty years earlier, Margaux’s best friend Amanda was found bludgeoned. Margaux’s brother Ryan, always protesting his innocence, had invariably been a suspect in the unsolved case. But in truth, they had all been there that night: Margaux, Ryan, Mary, even Kate and Liddie, the twins, who always seemed to turn up where they shouldn’t be. After years of keeping secrets will they finally realize that one of them could actually be a killer? This story takes off like a shot and the short chapters facilitate the reader’s race to the end. Plenty of characters, alibis, and lies make “I’ll Never Tell” by Catherine McKenzie the perfect summer read.

“A Splinter in the Blood” by Ashley Dyer opens with Ruth, gun in hand, staring at her partner, dead in a chair as she frantically starts to pick up all of their files, charts, and notes before wiping down his flat. Then, in a final moment of regret she bends over, looks straight into Carver’s face and wonders: did he just blink? That’s how you meet Ruth Lake and Greg Carver, partners working on an ongoing serial killer case, leaving you wondering did Ruth happen to find Carver–or did she just shoot him–before you are plunged into the chase for a devious murderer loose in England. From the moment I started reading I knew I was in good hands, I loved these two detectives and there were plenty of unsavory characters to choose from while trying to guess who the killer was.

I might be dating myself with this reference but if you were a fan of “Rosemary’s Baby,” Riley Sager’s newest thriller “Lock Every Door” might be up your alley. Having lost her job and her boyfriend, Jules is in need of a place to live, so when she sees an ad to apartment sit in one of the most exclusive, posh, and mysterious buildings in Manhattan (complete with gargoyles!) she jumps at the chance for an interview at the Bartholomew. The apartment and pay are incredible even if the rules she has to follow are strict (don’t talk to residents, no visitors) and the questions she has to answer are weird (are you unattached, any next of kin?) so it seems like luck is finally going her way. Except for the noises at night and the screams and the questions about past apartment sitters. Fast paced and unexpected, you might want to lock every door until you are done with this one, and then maybe sleep with a light on.

Switching gears after all those thrillers, let’s talk picture books. Hank lives alone in the desert and that’s the way he likes it. He spends his days sitting. He looks out the window. Interruptions make him grumpy. And he is totally okay with isolation until someone walking by suggests that maybe he needs a hug. But Hank is a cactus. Who would be willing to risk that? “Nobody Hugs a Cactus” by Carter Goodrich is so fun to read, and the pictures are wonderful. I didn’t realize cactuses (cacti) could have so many expressions. Goodrich takes a prickly story and fills it with warmth.

So many good books are coming out this summer. What are you waiting for? Come in and check something out.

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