Book talk: 5 holiday novels

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Jeff and Michael Popple recommend five good holiday novels. More of their reviews can be found on their blogs: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com and the unseenlibrary.com

holiday novel

1 The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

The Last Resort makes for great beach reading. Set on the luxurious Harmony Resort for couples on the gorgeous Mayan Riviera, it follows a group of guests who have come to the resort to solve their marriage problems under the guidance of celebrity power couple, Miles and Grace Markell. Of course, everyone on the resort has secrets and when murder and a deadly tropical storm strike, loyalties will be tested and dark truths revealed. An easy flowing and enjoyable domestic thriller, it is a good book to take on holidays, hopefully to a less stressful location than the Harmony Resort!

holiday novel

2 Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

Hachette, $32.99

Offering less drama and more romance is this fun debut by Rachel Winters. Long-suffering assistant Evie Summers will lose her job unless she can convince her film agency’s biggest and most difficult client, Ezra Chester, to finish his script for a Hollywood rom-com. Unfortunately, the manipulative Chester will only put pen to paper if Evie can prove to him that you can meet and fall in love like they do in the movies. The result is a series of amusing, contrived ‘meet-cute’ set-ups, as Evie works her way through a string of unsuccessful and increasingly silly rom-com scenarios. Romance for the Netflix Generation.

holiday novel

3 Traitors of Rome by Simon Scarrow

Headline, $32.99

For some exciting historic fiction these holidays, be sure to check out the latest novel from Simon Scarrow, Traitors of Rome. Tribune Cato and Centurion Marco are serving at the border with Parthia in AD 56, preparing for the inevitable war. In order to delay the upcoming invasion, Cato travels into Parthia as an ambassador, while Marco leads his troops to quash a rebellion. Both must overcome treachery and the manipulation of spies if they are to survive. This is an excellent ancient Roman novel that features a good blend of action, intrigue and espionage. A compelling and clever story.

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holiday novel

4 The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Hyperion, $32.99

Make sure to escape the heat this summer by diving into the deeps with this fascinating young adult, dystopian novel. In the future, Earth has been completely flooded, and humanity now lives deep below the waves. In order to save her imprisoned father, Leyla McQueen enters a deadly submersible race to earn his freedom, but she soon finds herself involved in a dark conspiracy. This great book makes excellent use of its intriguing concept to tell an enjoyable story. The depictions of life beneath the waves are very inventive, and this distinctive setting helps to create a fantastic read.

5 The Siberian Dilemma by Martin Cruz Smith

holiday novel

Simon & Schuster, $32.99

Also offering a fictional escape from the summer’s heat is this latest novel by Martin Cruz Smith, the author of the iconic Gorky Park. Set in the icy depths of Siberia, it finds Moscow investigator Arkady Renko desperately searching for his missing journalist girlfriend, while also interrogating a suspected assassin. The story moves at a good pace and Smith’s sharp-eyed descriptions of Moscow, Siberia and the Russian political process, help to create a strongly atmospheric novel. As with all of Smith’s books, the characters are convincingly sketched, and the plot has a series of good twists as it moves to its cynical climax.

LJ Hooker Projects - The Chandler
LJ Hooker Projects - The Chandler