I was not blown away by the book I read this summer. I need to plan better next time.
I ended up mostly engaged by crime fiction, even if it’s a genre I am not an expert in. The most satisfying read was The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi, an intricately constructed novel with some truly haunting moments. I also enjoyed two novels by Glenn Cooper, Secret of the Seventh Son (aka Library of the Dead) and Book of Souls. Secret of the Seventh Son starts out as a serial killer novel, but then branches out into something else, on a metaphysically bizarre premise that is further pursued in the second book of the trilogy (the third one, The Librarians, is forthcoming; you can see from the titles alone why I would dig this sort of stuff). The author is quite an interesting character: he majored in archaeology in college, then went to medical school specializing in infectious diseases, then became a pharmaceutical CEO. And now he writes metaphysically bizarre books.
I read two surf crime novels by Don Winslow, but they did not have the epic scope of what I think is his masterpiece, Power of the Dog, which I recommend you read right away if you haven’t yet.
Last summer, I was enthralled by Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Many people don’t read King because they think he writes in the horror genre. Even when he does, there is so much more to it; I’ve always loved his ear for the spoken language (if you are a foreign student of American English, you can hardly do better than read Stephen King for practicing your idioms). 11/22/63 is a novel about time travel – a topic very few writers have tackled successfully – transporting us in the United States of the late ’50s and early ’60s, revived in painstaking detail, to follow a protagonist who sets himself the task of undoing the Kennedy assassination. It is a marvel, and it is what I missed this summer, when there was no new big Stephen King novel, and nothing else as juicy as this.