Five Cool Novels for Hot Summer Reading
The Conviction by Robert Dugoni (Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, $25)
This is a gripping new novel about a father who takes the law into his own hands to save his son.
Attorney David Sloan is troubled by his inability to communicate with his son, Jake. The sixteen-year-old, haunted by the brutal murder of his mother, seems to be spiraling out of control. Jake’s stubborn silences and alcoholic-fueled outbursts make a difficult situation even more so. When one of David’s friends, Tom Molia, suggests a guys-only camping trip, it seems like a perfect way for Sloan to spend quality time with his son and reconnect. Tom’s son’s T.J. is also a member of the group.
The perfect getaway turns into a father’s nightmare when Jake vandalizes a country store with T.J. as an unwitting accomplice. Early the next morning, before Sloan and Molia even realize their sons are missing, the young boys are summarily tried, convicted, and sentenced to six months in the Fresh Start juvenile detention facility, a boot camp in California’s Gold Country wilderness.
As David Sloan begins to fight the conviction, he quickly uncovers a corrupt system that puts both him and his son in jeopardy.
This is an exhilarating story that is crisply written and full of unexpected plot twists.
Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Imperative: A New Jason Bourne Novel by Eric Van Lustbader (Grand Central Hardcover, $27.99)
Robert Ludlum, who died in 2001, was the author of twenty-one novels, each one a bestseller. Eric Van Lustbader also is a successful writer including two international bestsellers, “Ninja” and “Black Heart.” Ludlum wrote three Jason Bourne novels, this is Lustbader’s seventh in the series.
The story begins when a man is fished out of the freezing sea bleeding from a gunshot wound and near death. The stranger awakens with no memory of who he is or who shot him, reminiscent of Bourne’s own bout with amnesia.
Rebeka, a Mossad agent, is so determined to track down the injured man, she goes off the grid and cuts the ties to her agency as she is being stalked by Mossad’s most feared killer.
Everything hinges on the amnesiac. Bourne must learn his identity and purpose before he and Rebeka are both killed.
Tight plotting, well-developed characters, and unexpected twist make this perfect summer reading.
The Family Corleone: A New Novel Based on a Screenplay by Mario Puzo by Ed Falco (Grand Central Hardcover, $27.99)
This prequel to “The Godfather” is set in New York City in 1933. With the nation reeling from the Great Depression and the approaching end of Prohibition, the scramble is on between the crime families of New York to determine which organizations will survive and which will face a violent end. Amid this struggle to the death are two competing visions of the American Dream: the one achieved through patience and the other gained by criminal brutality.
Enter Vito Coreone. Vito worries about his son, Sonny, who is seventeen and reckless. Sonny has ambitions to be like his father and become part of the family business. How far is Vito willing to go to protect his family and his own survival in this atmosphere of violence and change?
First published in 1969, “The Godfather” has become an international classic. With more than 21 million copies in print, very few novels have had such a far-reaching impact on popular culture. “The Family Corleone” is an almost seamless addition to the original and certainly one of the most anticipated books of the summer.
The Skeleton Box: A Starvation Lake Mystery by Bryan Gruley (Touchstone Hardcover, $25)
Bryan Gruley is a reporter-at-large for Bloomberg News with a newsman’s eye for detail which gives his novels a feeling of authenticity.
While elderly residents of Starvation Lake are enjoying weekly bingo night at St. Valentine’s Catholic Church, someone is breaking into their homes rifling through personal files and financial papers. Even though the “Bingo Night Burglar” takes nothing, a fear soon grips the community.
When the ex-girlfriend’s mother of Gus Carpenter, the editor of the local paper, is found murdered in the home of Bea Carpenter, Gus’s mother, the newspaperman is forced to find out the truth behind Mrs. B’s death. The case involves a lock-box, the long-ago disappearance of a nun, and secrets that might be best kept.
XO: A Kathryn Dance Novel by Jeffrey Deaver (Simon and Schuster, $26 hardback)
In this third Kathryn Dance novel, Country-pop singer Kayleigh Towne has talent, beauty, fame, and a stalker. Edwin Sharp, a deranged fan, begins to send the signer messages signed “XO.” When one of Kayleigh’s roadies is burned to death by a falling stage light, Edwin graduates from stalker to murder suspect. Special Agent Kathryn Dance heads the investigation in an attempt to solve he case.
The big question Dance must answer is whether Edwin’s obsession has driven him over the edge or if he is being used by someone else as a fall guy. All signs point to Edwin but perhaps that is what the killer wants everyone to think.
Sharply drawn characters, fully realized protagonists, and unexpected plot twists will keep readers guessing until the very last page. Jeffrey is one of this country’s most popular writers and he proves with his latest book that he is at the top of his game.
Reprint: Tucson Citizen 06/14/12 by Larry Cox