10 Hot Summer Beach Reads, From J.K. Rowling's Latest to Hillary Clinton's Memoir

11:00 AM PST 05/31/2014 by Andy Lewis

Stephen King, Paul McCartney and a few promising rookies are among those with buzzy new books out this season.

This story first appeared in the June 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Summer readers, like moviegoers, crave blockbusters in which to lose themselves while on vacation. This year's buzzy reads find favorites going in unexpected directions (Stephen King, J.K. Rowling), familiar faces making comebacks (Hillary Clinton, Paul McCartney) and promising rookies (Joel Dicker, Terry Hayes).

FOREIGN INTRIGUE

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR
by Joel Dicker

(Penguin, $18, May)
The international best-seller (it outsold Dan Brown's Inferno on the way to selling 2 million copies in France) by a Swiss novelist whose previous sales were a few hundred copies finally arrives in the U.S. after being optioned by Ron Howard in April. In the book, a struggling young writer returns to a New Hampshire town to help his mentor, a renowned novelist, who has been charged with murder after the body of a 15-year-old girl, missing since 1975, turns up in his backyard.

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THE FARM
by Tom Rob Smith

(Grand Central, $26, June)
The writer of the best-selling Child 44 trilogy -- about a series of murders in Stalin-era Russia (now being turned into a Tom Hardy-Gary Oldman movie) -- strikes out in a new direction for this Swedish-set story. A man must figure out if his institutionalized mother is truly crazy or whether her stories about his father being a monstrous criminal involved in sex trafficking and murder are true. In the process, he discovers how little he knows about either parent.

THRILL RIDES

I AM PILGRIM
by Terry Hayes

(Atria, $26.99, May)
From the first-time novelist and screenwriter (Payback) comes a globe-spanning thriller about a hotshot CIA operative -- code-named Pilgrim -- coming out of early retirement to thwart a biological attack by Middle East terrorists. The book, already a hit abroad, is getting a major U.S. push from the publisher.

ROBOGENESIS
by Daniel H. Wilson

(Doubleday, $26.95, June)
The sequel to the 2011 hit Robopocalypse finds Archos, the key robot villain, reassembling himself and plotting a new war to annihilate mankind. Meanwhile, the survivors of the first war -- robots and humans alike -- struggle to build a new world. With Steven Spielberg's film version on hold, fans who turned the first book into a mega-selling hit can take solace in this dive back into the Terminator-esque world.

TRUE TALES OF VALOR

IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE
by Hampton Sides

(Doubleday, $28.95, August)
This is the true tale of the American expedition that set out from San Francisco in 1879 to discover the North Pole. The explorers got stuck in the ice for 21 months before their boat sank, and the survivors walked across hundreds of miles of tundra and ice to reach safety. (Sides' best-seller about the hunt for Martin Luther King Jr.'s killer, Hellhound on His Trail, is in development at Universal.)

DOUBLE AGENT
by Peter Duffy

(Scribner, $28, July)
When World War II broke out, naturalized German American William G. Sebold was recruited by the Nazis but approached the FBI, becoming the bureau's first double agent, feeding information that eventually led to the arrest of 33 enemy agents.

SECOND ACTS

HARD CHOICES
by Hillary Clinton

(Simon & Schuster, $35, June)
The former first lady and potential future president covers her four years as secretary of state in a book that will surely be scrutinized for what it says about Benghazi and her possible run in 2016.

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MAN ON THE RUN
by Tom Doyle

(Ballantine, $27, June)
How did the most famous member of the world's most famous band reinvent himself in the '70s? Drawing on numerous one-on-one interviews, rock journalist Doyle chronicles the chaotic decade after The Beatles broke up, when Paul McCartney, newly married to Linda, alternatively courted the spotlight (blockbuster tours with his new band Wings) and retreated from it (trying to live as a normal family man at his country estate) as he struggled to figure out what kind of man and musician he wanted to be.

SURE THINGS

MR. MERCEDES
by Stephen King

(Simon & Schuster, $30, June)
King's latest is his most hard-boiled detective novel in years. Jolted by the rush of driving through a crowd of innocent people, a disturbed loner plots an even more deadly follow-up as a burned-out ex-cop hunts for him. King says he started the novel before the Boston Marathon bombings, but the similarities between real life and his fiction unnerved him.

THE SILKWORM
by Robert Galbraith

(Mulholland, $28, June)
J.K. Rowling returns with a second helping of Cormoran Strike, the hero of last summer's runaway best-seller The Cuckoo's Calling (written under the Galbraith pen name). This time, the army officer-turned-private investigator must figure out who killed a novelist from a long list of suspects -- all of whom were skewered in his about to-be-published book.

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