Hot Reads in the Summertime

InnocentThe Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little BighornThe Nearest Exit
Summer is coming, it's just over the grassy dunes, and our beach bags are crying to be stuffed with some juicy summer reading. I've come up with a few titles for you to enjoy when you're either relaxing under the beach umbrella, reclining on the deck, or just killing some time on a rainy August afternoon.

The Last ChildIf you like sequels, you'll be happy to see two on my list. First Scott Turow revives Rusty Savage in his follow up to the 1987 smash hit Presumed Innocent, simply titled Innocent.Turow never planned a sequel until he reviewed story ideas recently. One idea or image that kept recurring to him was of a man sitting on a hotel room bed and behind him, lying on the bed,  is the body of a woman. One day he had a revelation: the man on the bed was Rusty Savage and the woman was his wife Barbara from Presumed Innocent. You can hear more about in Sam Tannenhaus's NY Times Book Review interview with Turow here.

The PassageThe other sequel on my list is the second part of Olen Steinhauer's Milo Weaver trilogy, The Nearest Exit. Steinhauer follows Weaver out of prison and back into the CIA's Black Ops division. His first book, the Edgar nominated The Tourist introduced us to Charles Alexander, AKA Milo Weaver, as he is initially, in an effort to clear his name,  forced out of retirement from the CIA special ops force. The author has been compared to Le Carre and Deighton.
The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron

Another talented author, Nathaniel Philbrick, has just released what promises to be an auspicious addition to his oeuvre of work. The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of Little Big Horn.The National Book Award-winning author examines the facts behind the myth of the Battle of Little Bighorn. He plumbs the characters of Gen. G. A. Custer and the Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, while bringing a fresh perspective to this familiar moment in history. Philbrick's previous titles, The Mayflower, and In the Heart of the Sea, are both gems of the genre.

There's nothing like a bone-chilling mystery when you're baking in the summer sun, and The Last Child, award-winning John Hart's (Down River) current thriller surely fits the bill. This time, Johnny Merrimon, a thirteen year old boy becomes obsessed with the disappearance, a year earlier, of his twin sister. After another girl disappears, he embarks on a search that leads him into the homes of known sex offenders; and ultimately, deeper, darker truths unfold. Hart matures as a storyteller in this latest effort.

For all you vampire-philes out there, Justin Cronin offers up The Passage, a post-apocalyptic tale of virus induced vampirism that threatens to overrun the world. Shades of Stephen King's The Stand color this horror genre epic which may keep you up on those humid August nights. Cronin is also the author of The Summer Guest.

Baseball fans will be happy to note that there is a new Hank Aaron biography on the bookshelves this summer. Although, an avidity for the diamond is not a prerequisite for The Last Hero: A life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant. The author digs into Aaron's roots, chronicling the history of race and racism in the great American pastime as documented through the experiences of the future home run king.