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WCBS 880's Best Beach Reads For Summer 2018

June 20, 2018 - 3:43 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- We can't think of a better way to spend a warm summer day than at the beach with sand between your toes, the sun in your hair and a good book in your hands. Looking for a thriller with a "ripped from the headlines" plot? Or are you more in the mood for a fantasy chronicling the age old battle of good vs. evil? Whatever it might be, we're here to help you find your next beach read.

"Pieces of Her" by Karin Slaughter

Best selling thriller writer Karin Slaughter is back with her new book "Pieces of Her."

The plot revolves around a daughter who discovers her mother as been hiding a BIG secret for the last 30 years. Slaughter says she chose to write about the sometimes tense relationship between mothers and daughters because it's harder than writing about father/daughter relationships.

"I'm one of three girls and my dad thinks we're all perfect. You know, mother/daughter relationships tend to be a little more fraught and difficult and the line I was really thinking about when I decided to do this is in the first part of the book, when Laura, the mother and Andy, the daughter, are having breakfast together and Andy thinks it's a truth universally understood that your mother can say to you that your hair looks good and what you hear is your hair had looked bad until every day but now and I think that's just like a typical mother/daughter interaction. There's always this sought of weird undertone."

​The book has already been optioned for a film or TV adaptation. Says Slaughter, "it's a great place to be right now when Hollywood is ready to tell women's stories."

"Tiffany Blues" by M.J. Rose
"Tiffany Blues" by M.J. Rose

Author M.J. Rose's fascination with the artwork of Louis Comfort Tiffany started in childhood when she first set eyes on one of his stained glass windows. 

Decades later, Rose has written a historical mystery in which he's a central character. 

We recently toured Tiffany's artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her to talk about the man and this week's beach read "Tiffany Blues".


Of Tiffany, she says, "He started his life being his father's son and the store was very successful, his father allowed him to go off to Europe when he was a young man. Louis Comfort Tiffany really wanted to be an artist. And he was a fine artist, he was a good artist, but when you look at the paintings, they don't have any of the invention and the excitement that he then went on to do when he started creating the lamps and the glass."

Rose also tells us Tiffany is the least invented character in her book and that almost everything he says about painting and beauty and drawing in the book is taken from something he actually said in real life.

Alter Ego
"Alter Ego" by Brian Freeman

"Alter Ego" by Brian Freeman is a ripped from the headlines thriller about a big film star with a sinister side. He tells us he's had the idea for years and delivered the book to his editor weeks before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.

"I've been working on this plotline for several years and I had the idea of my Duluth police lieutenant Jonathan Stride dealing with a film being made on location in Duluth based on one of his earlier cases," Freeman told WCBS 880's Author Talks podcast. "Stride has to confront his alter ego, this Hollywood icon who is playing him in the movie and this celebrity seems to have some dark secrets that he doesn't want exposed."

There's a special treat for Freeman's fans when Stride meets another one of his beloved characters.

"I give Cab (Bolton) a little screentime," Freeman said.

And if you're looking for a way to cool off, the book takes place in Minnesota. In January.


"Death Doesn't Bargain" by Sherrilyn Kenyon
"Death Doesn't Bargain" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

If you're looking for something different to read this summer pick up a book by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

She's a best-selling fantasy writer whose books chronicle the age-old fight between good and evil.

Her latest is "Death Doesn't Bargain." It's the second book in the Deadman's Cross series.

In case you missed the first book in the series, "Deadmen Walking," don't worry, the interview doesn't include any spoilers.

Kenyon believes in  being able to pick up any book at any time and understand the plot.

"I write every book because I'm that reader that no matter how hard I try I always come in somewhere in the middle of a series. So when I'm writing I try to keep that in mind. If you come in in the middle you won't be lost so I write everybook where you can start anywhere."

Listen to the full interview with Sherrilyn Kenyon here:

Charlie Donlea's "Don't Believe It"
"Don't Believe It" by Charlie Donlea

In Charlie Donlea's "Don't Believe It," we follow documentary filmmaker Sidney Ryan who's made a name for herself exonerating wrongly convicted murderers. Her work takes her to the white sand beaches of Saint Lucia where an American medical student has spent 10 years in jail for murdering her boyfriend. Donlea tells us he was partly inspired by the true crime shows and podcasts popular nowadays, but with one major difference.

"In real life documentaries, they don't always find the answers because they are dealing with the facts of the case, not all of them answered. I thought when I was writing this book, as the author I'm pulling the strings and I can create any ending I want and that's how Sidney gets involved with this case."  

As for what happens, Donlea tells Pat Farnack, "(Sidney) goes to Saint Lucia and starts looking into the case, hoping to do a little retelling of the story, but ultimately she discovers a lot of new evidence and a lot of new details that were overlooked during the original investigation. That leads her off on the adventure that is the story in "Don't Believe It'."

Check out Pat's full interview with Charlie Donlea:

"The Moscow Offensive" by Dale Brown

"The Moscow Offensive" by Dale Brown

This week's beach read imagines a world where wars are fought by 12 foot human-like robots. Author Dale Brown is a former U-S Air Force Captain and the brains behind the Cybernetic Infantry Devices or CIDs featured in his new book "The Moscow Offensive".

This is his 28th book and over the course of his writing career, Brown has written about military technology long before it was actually used on a real-life battlefield. 

"I love being on the cutting edge of things. I've been writing for so many years and I've been lucky enough to look ahead, doing research, looking ahead 3, 5, 10 years and then writing about technology and weapons systems as if they really exist, putting them to use in a scenario based on what's going on in the world right now and then since I've been around so long I get to actually see those weapons in action.​"

His imagination has also led to a run-in with the Secret Service, a story he shares with us in this week's WCBS Author Talks podcast:


"Spymaster" by Brad Thor

"Spymaster" by Brad Thor

American intelligence operative Scot Harvath is back in "Spymaster" the newest thriller from international best seller Brad Thor. This time around, Harvath and his team have been tasked to do whatever necessary to keep the U-S and its NATO allies from being dragged into war. It's a ripped from a headlines political thriller, but Thor says he's careful not to take sides. 

"I was looking at the fact that we have a president unlike anything else in our history, we've got a lot of division, but we also have history that existed before our current president came to office. We were at wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as I looked around the world, particularly at Russia, I realized that this year, 2018, September 30th was going to be the 80th Anniversary of the Munich pact where Britain and France got together with Mussolini and Hitler and decided to give a chunk of Czechoslovakia to Hitler hoping that that would stop him."

That's a piece of history many readers may not know about and Thor says if you learn something after reading one of his books, he's done his job.

"I'm supposed to give you a white knucle thrill ride, but if you close my books a little bit smarter or you've learned some things you didn't know before or you have some questions, then I've really done my job as an entertainer."

"Little Big Love" by Katy Regan
"Little Big Love" by Katy Regan

In "Little Big Love", a 10 year old boy named Zac launches a mission to unite his broken family. Although his mother and grandparents do the best they can, Zac remains curious about the father he's been told never wanted to be part of his life.  He sets out to find him and along the way, unearths a family secret and learns a few things about himself.

Author Katy Regan says says she hopes readers walk away from the book with a renewed sense of optimism.

"The hope that things will work work. That we will find out the truth. That we will not have our happy ending, but that we will find love in our lives and I think that can very often get quashed out of people and it hasn't been quashed out of Zac, which makes him sort of a lovely character to write because he's still, no matter what, he never ever ever loses faith and hope that he will mend the kind of breakages in his family and I guess that that is something that children can teach us."

Food also plays a big role in her book and Regan says she thought about including some of the recipes she mentions.

Listen to the full interview with Regan here:

"Dreams of Falling" by Karen White
"Dreams of Falling" by Karen White

"Dreams of Falling" is set in the idyillc low country of South Carolina.

The story chronicles a friendship that spans decades with the action jumping between the present and the 1950s.  

Author Karen White tells us she's always been fascinated by that time period.

"My mother grew up in a very small town in Mississippi and she graduated high school in 1952. She had four sisters, they all grew up in the 50s and my grandmother saved every single one of their party dreses in these trunks in the extra bedroom, so as a little girl who loved to dress up, you can only imagine, visiting my grandmother's house, opening the trunks and playing dress-up."

White's book also got some suprise publicity earlier this summer when it was featured during a skit on Late Night with Seth Meyers in which Fred Arminsen judged the book by its cover. His attempt was hilariously wrong, but White says it was "the coolest thing ever".​

"The Other Woman" by Daniel Silva

"The Other Woman" by Daniel Silva

"The Other Woman" by Daniel Silva is a  timely spy thriller that taps into the mounting tensions between Russia and the West.  We once again meet Israeli Intelligence officer and assassin Gabriel Allon who is on the hunt for a Russian mole embedded deep within British intelligence services.

Silva told us why Russia makes the best villain...both real and fictional.

"They're good villains (a) because they're villainous, but (b) the KGB, and this is demonstrable, it's clear from the sophistication of the attack that was launched on us, they are very good at what they do and they think long term. So when I write a novel about an intelligence operation that is, you know, 40 years in the making, you don't bat an eye because that's the way the KGB and Russian intelligence operates."

Silva also tells us whether he thinks there are real Russian moles inside MI6 or the CIA.

Listen to the full interview here: