A tall stack of pandemic page-turners repurposed as beach reads

I’ve decided to write some useful content for once. But then I’ll conclude my post with personal observations that are both foolish and pointless because that is my brand.

So here are some of the best mysteries and thrillers that helped me endure the pandemic, i.e., turn my brain off for hours at a time. I recommend taking these books to your private islands and secluded beaches this summer. There you can devour them along with the body parts of all the people you’ve dramatically murdered.

The Stack

1. Final GirlsHome Before Dark, The Last Time I Lied, and Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. These novels are twisty, terrifying (especially Home Before Dark), and driven by strong female voices. Still can’t believe Sager is a man.

2. When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole. This book just won a well-deserved Edgar Award. The story is darkly real and riveting and as a bonus Cole handles the sexy stuff like the romance ninja she is.

3. The Survivors by Jane HarperThe Dry is still my favorite by Harper, but this one made me start planning a vacation to Tasmania, which is saying something.

4. The Tenant and The Butterfly House by Katrine Engberg. The murders are just okay but I’m down with the detectives and the writing.

5. The Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George. SO GOOD. Read them in order. George will repeatedly break your heart, but the journey is worth it.

6. All of the Fjallbacka books by Camilla Lackberg. Lackberg is an OG with a uniquely deviant imagination.

7. The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda. Rich people, coastal vacation homes, unsolved homicides. Kind of predictable, but you read on.

8. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton. Needlessly complex at times, but super interesting if you like wooden ships and the supernatural. Couldn’t get through Turton’s other elaborate mystery, The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, because I’m too basic.

9. Theo Cray and Jessica Blackwood and Underwater Investigation novels by Andrew Mayne. I think Mayne was the first author I binged via Kindle Unlimited. Mayne is an honest-to-god magician who dives with sharks and writes all these books about serial killers just so he can give every antihero a happy ending.

10. The Dublin Trilogy (actually four novels) by Caimh McDonnell. These “darkly comic crime thrillers” are just fun. Sharp writing and lovable, over-the-top characters.

11. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

12. The Trap by Melanie Raabe

13. The Magpies by Mark Edwards

14. Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

15. Proving Ground by Peter Blauner

16. The Red Lotus by Peter Bohjalian

17. The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

I’ve also read a lot of mysteries that were meh. I could put them in a listicle as well, but I’m trying to offer quality content today.

Meh Things I’ve Read and Said During the Pandemic

is a headline that would be followed by a billion boring things. Like for instance I’m between mystery books right now so I just read an entire bathing suit catalog marketed to women who have birthed children. In the catalog photos the sea breeze catches the hems of the models’ tie-dyed sarongs and maxi dresses and their bikini tops peek out flirtatiously from under their ombre macrame crossbody blouses and their strappy sandals sink into the wet sand and the ocean sparkles behind them and I’m just flipping the pages thinking, “It’s only a matter of time before your naked bodies are found creatively arranged in dumpsters and only a psychologically damaged FBI profiler with a secret past can figure out why.”


One Thought on “A tall stack of pandemic page-turners repurposed as beach reads

  1. Three additional authors for this list: Jennifer Hillier, Matthew FitzSimmons, and Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).

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