Chills at the end of summer

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Summer may officially end on September 22, but does that mean that you have to put all those beach reads, mysteries and thrillers aside? Hardly.

Here are some chillers to keep you shivering into the fall - as well as children’s books that are ideal for the young readers in the household who are heading back into the classroom.


The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters
(Riverhead Books: 464 pp., $26.95)
A country house ghost story set in Warwickshire, England in 1947, Sarah Waters’ unsettling fifth novel (after “Tipping the Velvet” and “Fingersmith”) is narrated by Dr. Faraday, an unremarkable GP whose rise to the middle class is threatened by the impending transition to nationalized health care. Faraday’s childhood connection to Hundreds Hall, the Ayres family’s genteelly shabby estate, is renewed when he is called to treat a servant and the story ends in madness, suicide and a creepy darkness reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” -- mixed with jolts of anxiety and social upheaval reminiscent of today’s news.

Reggie Nadelson
(Walker & Company: 392 pp., $25)
Maybe eight times is the charm for popular success. Nadelson’s long-running series, featuring the Moscow-born NYPD detective Artie Cohen, has evolved from capable police procedurals to highly-praised psychological thrillers, spanning genres as easily as world capitals. “Londongrad” starts in New York with the discovery of a duct-taped girl’s body in Brooklyn, stops in London -- now home to more than 300,000 Russian émigrés -- before moving on to money-mad Russia where, amid the assorted criminal scum and little Russian girls wearing pink “I (heart) Putin” t-shirts, Artie is forced to weigh the cost of saving an old friend by selling his soul to a cunning Russian “businessman.”

Blindman’s Bluff
Faye Kellerman
(William Morrow: 390 pp., $25.99)
The 18th Peter Decker-Rina Lazarus mystery centers on the robbery and murders of shopping mall developer and charitable donor Gus Kaffey, his wife and three others at Canyon Ranch, their vast San Fernando Valley estate. The winding, murderous path Decker follows inevitably intersects with Rina’s improbable role as a juror in a trial, which leads to the titular blind man and some shady characters with motives beyond a simple case of breaking and entering. On display is Kellerman’s familiar blend of police procedure and domestic bliss among a close-knit Orthodox family that will be sure to please her broad fan base even if it breaks no new ground or the author makes some surprising rookie mistakes (like calling the LAPD’s crime lab CSI instead of SID).

--Paula Woods


Freaky Monday
Mary Rodgers and Heather Hach
(Harper Collins: $15.99)
“Freaky Monday” is the newest book from the same authors that brought us “Freaky Friday,” This time it’s straight-A,14-year-old Hadley and her New-Age teacher exchanging bodies and problems for one manic Monday -- all prompted by a synchronized reciting of a line from “To Kill A Mockingbird”: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view -- until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

The Deep
Helen Dunmore
(Harper Collins: $16.99)
The third in a trilogy, “The Deep” picks up in the aftermath of a flood that devastated St. Pirans, a small town on the Cornwall coast. Sapphire, the half-human, half-mer (of the sea) heroine is confronted with a new evil creature, the Kracken, who threatens to destroy the underwater world of Ingo.

Bug Boy
Eric Luper
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux: $16.99)
When 15-year-old Saratoga track worker Jack Walsh graduates to an apprentice jockey (or, as they’re called, a Bug Boy) he thinks his problems are over. He soon discovers, however, the shady side of the racetrack with scheming propositions, a seemingly perfect girlfriend and devious characters whose pressure tactics could put a damper on his once bright future.

--Liesl Bradner