Summer books: Beach reads for the fun of it

The After Wife

Gigi Levangie Grazer

Ballantine, $25

A charming tale of a grieving 40-ish widow — and the wacky friends who love her — as she attempts to regain control of her life in the sometimes-surreal L.A. landscape. (July)

The Age of Doubt

Andrea Camilleri

Viking, $15

In the latest in the author’s series, take another journey to Sicily with Inspector Montalbano, who seeks to penetrate the mystery surrounding two yachts and the discovery of a mutilated corpse. (May)

Beach Season

Lisa Jackson, Cathy Lamb, Holly Chamberlin

Kensington, $15

Can’t a good girl ever get a break in life and love? The tales of forlorn heroines gathered here are like a chocolate sampler — romantic, brief, sweet. (May)

The Book of Summers

Emylia Hall

Harlequin Mira, $14.95

The shuddering separation of her parents results in young Beth shuttling between two worlds — the U.S. and Hungary — and coping with family secrets as she reaches adulthood. (May)

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Imperative

Eric Van Lustbader

Grand Central, $27.99

Jason Bourne’s rescue of a drowning man not only reminds him of himself (the man’s an amnesiac too), it raises plenty of questions. Why is he being stalked by the Mossad? Could he really be a legendary terrorist assassin, or is this a case of mistaken identity? (June)

Broken Harbor

Tana French

Viking, $27.95

Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy returns, in French’s latest, to investigate what appears to be a straightforward attack on a family in an Irish housing development — but nothing, Kennedy knows, is ever so simple. (July)

Capital: A Novel

John Lanchester

W.W. Norton, $26.95

In the shadow of terrorism and the 2008 global financial implosion, a cast of English characters are brought together via a strange message delivered on postcards in this latest by the author of “The Debt to Pleasure.” (June)

A Conspiracy of Friends

Alexander McCall Smith

Pantheon, $24

The author returns to Corduroy Mansions, the London neighborhood where neighbors wage comic battles with each other and Freddie the terrier has gone missing. (June)

Creole Belle

James Lee Burke

Simon & Schuster, $27.99

Dave Robicheaux can’t get the song “Creole Belle” out of his mind or the New Orleans girl who disappeared after giving the song to him on an iPod. This leads to a new search against the backdrop of an oil rig disaster in the Gulf — and the threat posed to life along the coast. (July)


Karin Slaughter

Delacorte, $27

The brutal crime that started investigator Amanda Wagner’s career entwines with the mysterious, heartbreaking past of her colleague, agent Will Trent, in a tale spanning 40 years. (July)

The Demands

Mark Billingham

Mulholland Books, $24.99

A London convenience store is the site of a hostage drama when a grieving father takes customers as his prisoners. Does he want money in return? No, just an answer to the question of what really happened to his son, who died in prison. (June)

Elsewhere, California

Dana Johnson

Counterpoint Press, $15.95

When young Avery escapes to the suburbs of L.A. to build a new life with her family, her troubled cousin follows and threatens to ruin everything. (June)

The Family Corleone

Ed Falco

Grand Central, $27.99

Mario Puzo’s saga of a crime family continues with a look back to the early 1930s and Sonny Corleone’s desire to join his father Vito in the family business. (May)

Growing Up Dead in Texas

Stephen Graham Jones

MP Publishing, $14.95

A novel of small-town lives in Texas and a young man’s return to find answers to unanswered questions about a disaster that affected the community many years ago. (June)

Kingdom of Strangers

Zoë Ferraris

Little, Brown, $25.99

An inspector in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah pursues a serial killer after the discovery of a secret grave containing the bodies of 19 women. (June)

The Kingmaker’s Daughter

Philippa Gregory

Simon & Schuster, $26.99

Conspiracy and a fight to the death for love and power at the court of King Edward IV of England. (August)

The Kings of Cool

A Prequel to Savages

Don Winslow

Simon & Schuster, $25

The back story of Ben, Chon and O stretches from 1960s Southern California to the recent past. (June)

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar

Suzanne Joinson

Bloomsbury, $26

A tale of two journeys — two sisters embark on a bicycle trip on the Silk Road in 1923; a present-day Londoner befriends a homeless Yemeni man. (June)

Little Night

Luanne Rice

Viking, $26.95

Clare and her niece struggle to build a relationship that requires overcoming old family scars inflicted by Clare’s sister years ago. (June)

Last Summer

Holly Chamberlin

Kensington, $15

Chamberlin’s latest revolves around bullying and friendship in the lives of mothers and their adolescent daughters. (July)

Mission to Paris

Alan Furst

Random House, $27

In 1938 Europe, Hollywood star Frederic Stahl’s not only interesting to his French film crew — a Paris network of spies considers him a potentially valuable ally. (June)

Monarch Beach

Anita Hughes

St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99

Can a woman create a new life after her husband’s infidelity? The answer is yes for Amanda, who ditches that fellow (a French chef) and belongs to a fabulously wealthy San Francisco family. (June)

The Nightmare

Lars Kepler

Sarah Crichton Books, $27

Detective Inspector Joona Linna is good at making connections, and if anyone can figure out the ties between two corpses in Stockholm, Linna can. (July)

The Orphanmaster

Jean Zimmerman

Viking, $27.95

Why are orphan children vanishing in 17th century New Amsterdam? A young lady and a dashing spy team up to find the answer. (June)

The Sandcastle Girls

Chris Bohjalian

Doubleday, $25.95

A young nurse’s arrival in 1915 Aleppo to help refugees of the Armenian genocide forms the background of a modern-day woman’s quest for truth about her family’s past. (July)

Serpent’s Kiss

Melissa de la Cruz

Hyperion, $23.99

Just because they have magical powers doesn’t mean that witches have it easier than mortals — ask Freya, whose fiancé has caused mythological trouble for her and her clan. (June)

Shadow of Night

Deborah Harkness

Viking, $28.95

The story of witch Diana Bishop and her vampire love Matthew Clairmont in “A Discovery of Witches” continues as the pair move through the world of Elizabethan England. (July)

Shadow Show

All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Sam Weller and Mort Castle

William Morrow, $15.99

A collection of 26 stories — including Neil Gaiman’s “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” — in honor of the maker of such classics as “Fahrenheit 451" and “The Martian Chronicles.” (July)

The Sins of the Father

Jeffrey Archer

St. Martins Press, $27.99

The second installment in Archer’s Clifton Chronicles, which started with “Only Time Will Tell,” revolves around a fake identity and follows Harry Clifton in the early days of World War II. (May)


A Novel

Bethenny Frankel

Simon & Schuster, $25

The reality TV star offers a tale of — what else? — a frank-talking woman whose mouth gets her in trouble on a popular reality TV show. (May)

The Storm

Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

G.P. Putnam, $27.95

A spreading black substance in the Indian Ocean — is it oil or something far more deadly? — must be investigated by the NUMA Special Assignments Team … if it doesn’t kill them. (June)

The St. Zita Society

Ruth Rendell

Scribner, $26

Tranquillity reigns on the upscale London street called Hexam Place, but secrets lurk behind the elegance, including a disturbed gardener who thinks he hears the voice of God. (August)


Elin Hilderbrand

Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown, $26.99

A summer bonfire for the students of Nantucket High ends with a deadly accident and with painful mysteries that their parents will struggle to understand in the months that follow. (June)

Swimming to Elba

Silvia Allone

Viking, $25.95

On the verge of adulthood, two friends in an Italian coastal town dream of lives full of romantic adventure — like the town of Elba, which is just a ferry ride away. (June)

Summer Breeze

Nancy Thayer

Ballantine, $26

Summer offers a chance to deepen one’s bonds, which three women discover during a holiday at Dragonfly Lake in New England. (June)


Jeffrey Deaver

Simon & Schuster, $26.99

Country-pop artist Kayleigh Towne finds herself stalked by an obsessed fan who thinks one of her hit songs was written just for him — and then people around Kayleigh start to die. (June)