Book Talk: Okanagan beach reads

A cool, shady spot on the beach is a fine place to lose yourself in a book

Peter Critchley

Special to The Morning Star

A cool, shady spot on the beach is a fine place to lose yourself in a book, particularly after a few hours of sun and water.

Jackrabbit Smile (2018) by Joe R. Lansdale, the latest novel in the raucous Hap and Leonard series, is a rollicking ride that pulls no punches and takes dead aim at racism in East Texas. Hap and his long-time girlfriend Brett are celebrating their wedding with a low-key backyard cookout when their party is interrupted by two uninvited guests—Judith Mulhaney and her son Thomas, two Pentecostal white supremacists, who want to hire them to find her missing daughter and sister, nicknamed Jackrabbit.

Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard, a black gay Vietnam vet and a Republican, are wary about taking the case. In the end money talks and the unlikely pair find their investigation at the centre of a local police department’s big case involving white supremacists. And the stakes get higher as the bodies begin to pile up and Hap and Leonard find themselves fighting for their lives.

The Scribe of Siena (2017) by Melodie Winawer is a wonderfully inventive, multi-faceted mystery tale that blurs the line between past and present and enmeshes the reader in the spell of medieval Siena.

When accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato’s beloved brother dies in the Tuscan city, she leaves her New York home to resolve his estate and retrieve his research on the Black Death in Siena. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs and research, Beatrice discovers a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

She is pulled even deeper when she stumbles across fresco painter fourteenth-century artist Gabriele Accorsi, sees her own face in one of his works and is physically transported across time just before the plague strikes Siena. And Beatrice, much to her surprise, falls in love with the painter and with the rhythm of medieval life as she fights for her own survival and the survival of Siena itself.

Acts of Murder (1997) by Canadian author L.R. Wright is an almost perfect book to read on the beach. The Edgar-award-winning author spins a mystery tale, the ninth title in the acclaimed Karl Alberg series, to again showcase her precise prose and unerring command of detail.

As RCMP Staff Sergeant Alberg prepares to marry his long-time girlfriend Cassandra Mitchell, a cunning killer unknown to Alberg but introduced to the reader earlier in the story is killing off various residents of the town of Sechelt B.C. The killer, known as the avenging Angel, murdering a string of men, women and even teenage children he believes are guilty of sin or betrayal. And Alberg, with his new unmarried sergeant Edwina Henderson, race against the clock to stop the evil angel from killing again.

These three titles are all available at your Okanagan Regional Library www.orl.bc.ca.


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