The smell of sunscreen automatically puts me in a great mood. Add a good mystery or thriller beach read, and I am in summer heaven—this must be what “summer lovin” was referring to. While I’m a fan of my e-reader, I am not a fan of getting it greasy, sandy, or wet, so paperback is always my choice for beach reads. If you’re excited about summer and reading great mystery and thriller paperbacks while listening to the ocean waves, leave some space in your beach bag for these great new paperback releases.
Nothing makes me turn pages faster than a psychological thriller. I not only need to get to the end to find out but also to make the terror in my brain stop! In The Sister, Grace goes looking for answers after her best friend Charlie’s death. In the process, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister makes herself real comfortable in Grace’s life. Except Grace knows nothing about his sister, and things start to seem off. This sounds like a psychological thriller alright, and my brain is ready to be messed with!
Nora Watts has simplified her life as much as possible. She's even gone so far as to live in the basement of her workplace without anyone knowing. Then she gets a call that changes everything: the baby she put up for adoption is now a teenager who has gone missing. The police are treating it as a runaway, but Nora, a product of the foster care system, decides to set out and find the teen herself. Nora is tough, determined, and a human lie detector, which makes her a great character to follow. Plus, the book is a hell of a ride once everything starts to unravel, so strap in!
Now, if you don’t want to be fully on the edge of your seat but you still want a good mystery, with great characters, and setting you can get lost in, Abir Mukjerhee's A Rising Man is the beach read for you. It's 1919, and former Scotland Yard detective Captain Sam Wyndham is working in Calcutta as he tries to put the ghosts of the Great War and his past life behind him. As Wyndham tries to solve the murder of a British official and navigate the many rules/laws against Indians which he does not understand, he soon finds himself dealing with terrorist suspects, brothels, opium dens, and a new crush.
The Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation series is an absolute delight—starting with the fact that Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits a baby elephant on the day he's retiring. Chopra is called in to help with an investigation at the Grand Raj Palace Hotel, where an American billionaire buying expensive art has died. Dun, dun, duuuun. (Side note: I have clearly taken a wrong turn somewhere in life that no one has thought to leave me a baby elephant that can then become my sidekick!)
You can match the August beach heat with the Texas heat that seeps off each page of Attica Locke’s sweltering mystery, Bluebird, Bluebird. Welcome to a small town in East Texas where a local white woman and a black man from Chicago have been murdered. Darren Mathews is a black Texas Ranger who's technically on suspension, but when decides to investigate the murders anyway, his presence is less than welcome. Secrets, racism, and Mathews's own personal issues are going to make cracking this case even more difficult, but nothing is going to stop him from getting to the truth.
Imagine finding out that not only has your father, who walked out on the family 30 years ago, died, but that he’s also left you his funeral home...on the other side of the world. Welcome to Ilka Nichols Jensen’s life. She’s a 40-year-old widowed photographer in Copenhagen who stumbles upon an unsolved murder while trying to quickly sell her father’s funeral home in Wisconsin. And since the killer is still alive, I hope she’s a fast runner.
There's nothing like settling into a good mystery series while lounging around on the beach. While Harry Bosch investigates cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department, he finds himself working on a drugstore robbery in which pharmacists were killed. He’s gonna have to go undercover to solve this one—and of course in this long-running series, it’s only a matter of time before an old case comes back to find him.
Clara Solberg is about to find out how a lie can unravel an entire life. After her husband dies in a car accident, Clara finds herself suddenly widowed with a newborn and a young daughter. Mary Kubica, bestselling author of The Good Girl, skillfully builds suspense in Every Last Lie by alternating between Clara’s day-to-day after the accident and her husband’s day-to-day in the final months of Clara’s pregnancy leading up to the accident.
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Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.