June has been an excellent month for fiction! Longer daylight hours and more energy means more time to read. Here are a few of my favorites:
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles
I couldn’t wait for this book to come out! The final book in the trilogy of Natchez Burning (amazing read, with one of the most satisfying last sentences I’ve ever read) and The Bone Tree (which I didn’t care for though I did make it through to the end), this book continues on with the saga of the Double Eagles (an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan) versus local attorney Penn Cage and his beloved father Dr. Tom Cage. It’s one of those sprawling, larger-than-life novels that has both characters and moral and family dilemmas that most of us can relate to, along with tackling broad societal issues like racism and the fallibility of even the most well-meaning and ethical human beings.
It’s clear from his writing, that Iles is deeply familiar with the South, both its beauty and its brutality. As a writer he’s highly skilled at weaving fiction and history together in a way that often makes them almost indistinguishable from each other. Though it’s not a quick read by any means, at almost 700 pages, Mississippi Blood has enough drama, twists, and turns to keep you turning the pages until the very end!
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
This family saga teeters on the edge of being confusing, with marriages and remarriages resulting in children, some of whom are related, some of whom are not, and some of whom wish they were. In fact, the author provides readers with a page detailing the family connections and the three places the members live just to minimize reader confusion. However daunting it is to keep the relationships straight, the reality is that the Thomas-Harrison family is probably the “new normal” for many.
Though the families live separately in New York City, they still share a summer home on Long Island. This results in an unbreakable connection, though the original parents, Lily and Robert, can rarely act civilly towards each other even when circumstances dictate they do so. The summer the novel takes place comes as a particular challenge for all involved for a variety of reasons which I can’t go into without giving the plot away. Suffice to say, that anyone who has ever unearthed a family skeleton from the closet, or has fallen in deeply love but dreads having the other family meet their own, or that is the product of a bitter divorce, will be able to identify with the young adults from whose perspectives the story is told. In fact the scene where the original parents finally let loose with all their pent-up bitterness, dragging the rest of the party guests into their vortex is so realistic that it makes you never want to hold onto a grudge again.
No doubt about it, this is a complicated book but it’s extremely well-written and one you won’t want to miss!
The Thirst by Jo Nesbo
If you guessed that this is a book about a vampire, you’re close! The novel was a page-turner that kept me up past my bedtime several nights in a row. First of all, I was thrilled to see my favorite Oslo detective, Inspector Harry Hole, come out of retirement to try to catch the latest murderer terrorizing the streets and the dating site Tinder.
Not only that, but this is no ordinary criminal. It’s someone suffering from vampirism, a highly unusual type of murderer who likes to draw out, and then indulge in, the blood of his victims in all sorts of deviant, creative, and grisly ways. And Harry, the angry, alcoholic, anti-hero with a passion for justice (at least in his work) is just the man to find the serial murderer with the rusty metal teeth. As usual the accompanying characters, from Rakel and her son Oleg to psychiatrist Stig Aune and fellow detective Gunnar Hagen, are entirely believable in their humanity and compelling in their actions.
This book will leave you (sorry-I’ve just got to say it) thirsting for more! Happy reading!