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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Book talk: Books for the pool and beach

Jeff and Michael Popple recommend five good books for the pool and beach this summer. More of their reviews can be found on their blogs: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com and the unseenlibrary.com

Hideout by Jack Heath

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

If you want a thrilling start to your summer make sure to check out Hideout from Canberran author Jack Heath. Timothy Blake, former FBI consultant and full-time cannibal, finds himself trapped in a house with five other killers, pretending to be a dark web video-maker. With his identity at risk of being exposed, and someone else gunning for his housemates, Blake will need to work fast to survive.

Hideout is the third Timothy Blake novel and features a fun, if gruesome, story about an amoral killer. Loaded up with clever twists, this is an addictive thriller that makes for excellent holiday reading.

A Bookshop in Wartime by Jenny Horsfield

Arcadia, $34.95

Also with a Canberra connection is A Bookshop in Wartime by Jenny Horsfield. This charming and interesting book chronicles the establishment of one of Canberra’s first bookshops, by the colourful Verity Hewitt. When Verity Hewitt’s Bookshop opened in the Sydney Building in April 1938, Canberra was little more than a country town. That was to quickly change with the coming of the Second World War, which brought more public servants and soldiers, and saw the city expand. The bookshop also grew and became a meeting place for booklovers and influential governmental and diplomatic figures.

A fascinating glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman and the changing face of Canberra.

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

The Phryne Fisher novels by Kerry Greenwood always make for fun, light reading and this latest entry, the first since 2013, is another entertaining romp through 1920s Victoria. A visit to a spa retreat in the countryside lands Phryne in a beguiling mystery involving disappearing women, murder, shell-shocked soldiers and the strange goings-on at the Temperance Hotel. While back in Melbourne her adopted daughters become caught up in the horrible death of a young woman.

Told with Greenwood’s typical aplomb, the story moves smoothly through several twists, lots of nice fashion and interesting dollops of history. Enjoyable beach reading.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Pan Macmillan, $19.99

Journey to Fortuna Beach this summer by reading the light-hearted young adult novel, Instant Karma. Following a disastrous biology class, chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is glad to be away from her slacker lab-partner Quint Erickson. However, when circumstances force the two together during their summer break, sparks will fly, especially after Prudence develops the ability to dole out karmic justice.

This is an entertaining and genuinely nice standalone novel from bestselling author Marissa Meyer. Meyer pulls together a fantastic teen romance novel that will appeal to a huge range of people, especially with its topical focus on marine rescue.

Call of the Bone Ships by R. J. Barker

Orbit, $22.99

Finally, return to the high seas in this second entry in the Tide Child series. After protecting the last of the sea dragons, the crew of the condemned bone ship Tide Child continue their adventures, led by Shipwife Lucky Meas. When a hold full of dying prisoners is uncovered aboard a captured ship, the crew find themselves drawn into a terrible plot.

Fantasy superstar R.J. Barker’s latest novel is another exceptional read, with a captivating, maritime plot set against a highly creative dark fantasy setting. Readers will be enthralled by this terrific novel, which is one of the best fantasy books of 2020.

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