Hot reads for the dog days of summer

These hot summer reads will help you beat the waning dog days.

Story highlights

  • If you're tired of the "Twilight" saga, sink your teeth into Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf"
  • For anyone who loves a good puzzle, John's Verdon's "Shut Your Eyes Tight" is the easy answer
  • A "murderer's row" of 26 writers penned one mystery in "No Rest for the Dead"
For many Americans, summer vacation is over and the kids are headed back to school. The temperatures are still sweltering in much of the country and many of us could use a good book to escape these dog days. Whether you're firing up the e-reader or headed to your local library, here are a few ideas on some hot reads, from the supernatural to surfing, plus a pair of top shelf puzzlers.
If you're tired of the "Twilight" saga, and have seen every episode of "True Blood," then sink your teeth into Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf." Readers are devouring this elegantly written and darkly humorous tale. Critics are universal in their praise, calling it howling good.
In the book, Jake Marlowe is the last of his kind, a charming but lonely lycanthrope who's fond of single-malt scotch, camel cigarettes and expensive prostitutes. When the moon becomes full, Jake transforms into a bloodthirsty beast, who craves human flesh. Now 200 years old, haunted by his past and tired of battling werewolf hunters and vampires, Jake is ready to turn himself in to his enemies and end his life but author, Duncan throws in a twist that changes Jake's resolve and will keep readers absorbed to the very end. This a blood spattered page turner, full of violence and sex, not for the squeamish but a thrilling read nonetheless. Hollywood agrees, Oscar-nominated director, Ridley Scott has optioned the film rights and Duncan is already working on a sequel.
Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf" details the life of a lonely lycanthrope.
Check out a video trailer for "The Last Werewolf."
If you didn't make it to the beach in person this year, Don Winslow's "The Gentlemen's Hour" may be the next best thing. Winslow is an award winning veteran of the summertime crime novel. He captivated readers and critics with his best-seller, "Savages" last year, which is being turned into a big-budget movie by Oscar-winning director, Oliver Stone. Now Winslow's out with a sequel to 2009's "The Dawn Patrol," featuring the return of Boone Daniels, a former cop turned private investigator, who would rather surf than work.
Don Winslow excels at summertime crime.
This time out, Daniels is investigating the death of a local surfing hero, but he'll have to face down some Mexican gang bangers, neo-Nazis and a reclusive billionaire before he can get to the truth. Winslow is a former P.I. and his prose drips with authentic detail, capturing the seedy side of the San Diego surfing scene as well as the beauty of sundown on the southern California coast. Even if you don't know the difference between hanging ten and a "gremmie" Winslow's novel will have you craving waves.
For anyone who loves a good puzzle, John's Verdon's "Shut Your Eyes Tight" is the easy answer. Verdon is a retired advertising executive who waited until his late sixties to try his hand at writing. The result was his 2010 bestselling debut, "Think of a Number." Now in Verdon's sophomore novel, superstar detective Dave Gurney is once again making a go at retirement with his wife, Madeleine.
John Verdon's "Shut Your Eyes Tight" presents readers with a good puzzle.
However, when a young bride is gruesomely murdered at her own wedding reception, the puzzle proves too tempting for Gurney to resist. Well-known mystery writers like David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille and Tess Gerritsen are rallying behind Verdon for his clever plots and nuanced characters. A slew of reviewers, including the New York Times have heaped praise on Verdon, even comparing his whodunits to the classic Sherlock Holmes tales.
Speaking of Baldacci and Gerritsen, they're among the "murderer's row" of writers who penned "No Rest for the Dead." As the book jacket says, there are twenty-six writers and one mystery. Andrew Gulli, editor of the Strand, a mystery magazine organized this effort, bringing together more than two-dozen bestselling writers, each contributed a chapter to this hard-boiled collaboration. Combined these authors have sold hundreds of millions of books, and their expertise is not wasted here.
The mystery revolves around an old murder in San Francisco and a detective who might have helped convict the wrong person. The novel reconstructs the crime, weaving back and forth through time and through various characters points of view. "No Rest for the Dead" is more than just a stunt. Anyone who loves a good mystery will love this book and to top it off proceeds go to a good cause. Gulli is donating a healthy portion of the books profits to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of his late mother.
From left to right, R.L. Stine, Gayle Lynds, Peter James, Marsha Talley, Jeffery Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, John Lescroart, Jonathan Santlofer, Michael Palmer, and Andrew Gulli.
Read an excerpt of "No Rest for the Dead."
Whatever your choice, you can't go wrong with any of these hot reads. So happy reading!