Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer Reading and What's Hot Right Now

By Vicki Delany

I read far more in the summer than the winter. I like to sit outside in the sun by the pool with my book whereas inside over the winter I seem to be doing things.  This year I have a brand new deck and the weather has been fabulous (hot and sunny) and so I’ve been plowing through books.

Image result for cartoon reading by the pool
Vicki Reading (not exactly as shown)
This week I've read The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (loved it) and Forty Dead Men by our own Donis Casey (totally different than Westaway but also great).  As an aside, let me say that I think Donis is one of the best writers working today who can really (and I mean really!) capture the times and the people she’s writing about, which is a farm family in 1910s Oklahoma.

As a reader my favourite type of book is the ‘modern gothic’ or standalone psychological suspense, and right now there’s an overwhelming number of them out there.  If we can get away from the “Girl Who” or “The Woman in” titles these are basically domestic thrillers in which women, mostly, are faced with a sudden, unexpected threat that turns their world upside down.  The threat often comes from the past, as long buried secrets are revealed.  Writers like Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, Kate Morton, Tana French, Cate Holahan.  Prince Edward County’s own Linwood Barclay has been writing this sort of book for a long time. It was with Linwood’s work that I first came across the phrase “domestic thriller” although being about men dealing with family life, his books don’t quite hit the group I am talking about.   But they’re always good and no one does twists quite like Linwood.

As always when a particular type of book suddenly becomes popular the market is flooded and some are a lot better than others. I didn’t get very far with The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn because I found it so very derivative.

As a writer, I seem to have been ahead of the curve. I’m very happy these days writing cozy mysteries and I love the characters and worlds I’ve created, but I can’t help but think I might have been too early for the boat.

My first two novels were exactly what’s so popular right now: standalone domestic thrillers with dual storylines (i.e. something that happened in the past affecting events of today). Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory were published by Poisoned Pen Press in 2005 and 2006. After that I switched to the Constable Molly Smith series, because everyone said you have to have a series. I tried my hand once again with a modern gothic in More than Sorrow, which sorta sunk without a trace.

I might not be writing that type of book anymore but I’m glad so many people are. I’m looking forward to some great reading this summer. Tell me, readers, any books or authors you can recommend along the lines of what I’m looking for?

1 comment:

Donis Casey said...

thank you so much for the shout-out, dear Vicki, and coming from someone whose work I so admire is quite humbling. In other news, I recently read a really good thriller called Little Comfort, by Edwin Hill. It's a debut novel set to be released in August.