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Summer books: Beach reads for the fun of it

Jason Bourne returns, Bethenny Frankel goes 'Skinnydipping,' Ray Bradbury gets a story salute and more.

June 03, 2012

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

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