This summer, why not put down that traditional "beach read" and pick up a book that will keep you on the edge of your towel or chaise? A wide variety of thrills, from psychological terror to dystopian horror to heart-stopping realism, can be found within the new books on PWPL's Teen and Adult shelves.
Detroit author Josh Malerman's first novel "Bird Box" is an unsettling post-apocalyptic horror that plays heavily on our fear of the unknown. A suicide epidemic that began in Russia has spread throughout the globe and Malorie, a Yooper girl transplanted to the Detroit suburbs, has been living behind a blindfold for the past four years. Something is out there so terrifying that those who see it commit suicide and often murder. The only way Malorie can save herself and her two young children is by rowing the three of them blindfolded down the river. This tense, atmospheric thriller demands to be read in one sitting, so take along your beach umbrella and plenty of sunscreen.
What is it about singer-songwriters that compels them to write exciting novels too? Josh Malerman sings with the Detroit rock band The High Strung, who made a stop at the Peter White Public Library during their 2005 "Rock & Roll Library Tour." When you stop by to check out "Bird Box," you might want to pick up a High Strung CD as well. Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, whose eagerly-awaited psychological thriller "The Son" has just arrived at PWPL, is also lead singer for the band Di Derre.
"The Son" takes readers to Oslo, where Sonny Lofthus has languished in prison for nearly half his young life, mysteriously supplied with an uninterrupted flow of heroin to feed his addiction. After he learns a stunning secret about his father's death Sonny gets clean, plots a genius escape from prison and sets out to hunt down and kill the people responsible for the crimes against him. It's a chilling ride full of twists and turns as Sonny must evade both criminals and cops to exact his revenge.
"The Winter People" by Jennifer McMahon is a spine-tingling ghost story immersed in death, blood and fire that might be easier to handle in the bright sunshine of the beach. Sara Harrison Shea was found dead in the field behind her house in 1908, just months after the tragic death of her daughter Gertie, and townspeople say that after midnight Sara's ghost still roams the streets of West Hall, Vermont. Modern girl Ruthie Washburn does not believe in ghosts. She dreams only of escaping her off-the-grid lifestyle in West Hall, until the morning she wakes up to discover that her mother has disappeared without a trace.
Nick Lake's new book "Hostage Three" plunges readers into a hair-raising nightmare at sea that is as enlightening as it is suspenseful. Heading out on a world cruise with his family aboard their yacht, Amy's uber-wealthy father decides to save time by taking the shortest but most dangerous route possible. Somalian pirates seize the yacht and hold Amy's family hostage under threat of death, no names or human connection allowed. Amy's father is the most valuable Hostage One, her stepmother Hostage Two, and 18-year-old Amy is Hostage Three. Adults and teens alike will enjoy this contemporary thriller, which poignantly addresses the how and, more importantly, the why of Somalian piracy.
"I Am the Weapon" by Allen Zadoff introduces the voice and story of Boy Nobody, a perennial new kid in school who also happens to be a coldblooded killer. He was 12 years old when his father was murdered. Soon after he was taken in by The Program and groomed to become an assassin for their cause. At 14 he completed his first mission.
He insinuates himself into his target's lives, gains their trust, kills them with a flick of his pen, and then moves on to the next assignment. Now at 16 he has been ordered to assassinate the mayor of New York City. This action-packed spy thriller made my heart pound but also delivered some surprising tugs at the heartstrings. Its unexpected ending left me eager to read the sequel, "I Am the Mission," also available on the New Teen shelf.
"The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" by Holly Black is a dystopian thriller bone-chilling enough to send you to the beach in search of sunshine. A single vampire started an epidemic that threatens civilization, and infected people are permanently quarantined in decadent, blood-obsessed "Coldtowns" where vampires keep infatuated humans as pets. After passing out at a high school party, Tana wakes up to find the house strewn with teenage corpses. Her desperate escape is slowed when she finds her ex-boyfriend Aidan alive, infected and tied to the bed along with a mysterious red-eyed boy named Gavriel. Tana rescues both boys while hungry vampires scratch at the door, and the three set out for Coldtown where Gavriel aims to exact deadly revenge on an old enemy. The dialogue is snappy, the vampires scary, the heroine brave and resourceful. Holly Black has created a seductively wicked reality-show world and added just the right dose of unsappy romance.
By Mary Schneeberger