Whether on the beach, by the pool or even a shady garden spot, reading during the summer is different than any other time of the year. For many of us, the books we choose to read when the weather is hot are usually different than winter tomes.

I wasn’t sure that I’d like Noah Hawley’s "Before the Fall" (Grand Central 2016; $26) because I already knew it involved a plane crash and that didn’t sound too appealing. But this mystery about a rich media titan and his family and friends is so absorbing, I kept turning the pages way after it should have been lights out.

Only two people survive plane crash — Scott Burroughs, a once very promising artist and now a recovering alcoholic barely able to make ends meet, and the mogul’s 4-year-old son. Both end up in the dark Atlantic waters, and Burroughs, who has achieved sobriety by intensive swimming, pops the kid on his back and heads for land — an epic swim against currents and gigantic waves. But that’s the least of his problems.

Once ashore, he’s hailed as a hero until the media titan’s star anchor concocts conspiracies about Burroughs' part in the plane’s crash. It all ends very satisfying and the plot is mesmerizing. Just watch out for sunburn if you pick up this book.

"Sweetbitter" by Stephanie Danler (Vintage 2017; $16) is the most modern coming of age story about 22-year-old Tess, who moves to New York and lands a job at a glamorous restaurant. It’s an education into the glitz, glitter and grime of the restaurant world and those who labor there.

For those who read Jay McInerney’s "Bright Lights, Big City" on another beach at another time, it’s New York 30 years is later — still insane and just as wonderful.

Joseph Finder always packs a lot of twists and turns in his books. In his latest, "The Switch" (Dutton 2017; $28), we follow what happens to poor Michael Tanner on his way home from a business trip. He has unknowingly picked up the wrong MacBook in the airline security line. Taking a peek, Tanner discovers it contains classified documents downloaded illegally by U.S. Sen. Susan Robbins. Soon he’s is pursued by all sorts of bad types wanting not only the computer but him.

New York Times bestselling author Don Winslow’s newest book, "The Force" (William Morrow 2017; $27.99) has the same driving intensity of his other novels, like "The Cartel," as it follows Denny Malone, a highly decorated police officer known as the King of Manhattan.

Malone and his crew are considered the bravest and baddest of an elite special unit that goes after gangs, drugs and guns. But Malone is dirty as well, having, along with his partners, stolen millions of dollars from a major bust. Once the feds learn about it, they pressure him into betraying his partners and jeopardizing everything good about his life.

"We Are Never Meeting in Real Life" by Samantha Irby (Vintage 2017; $15.95) is a collection of her hilarious and observant essays about a variety of poignant topics. Irby, a blogger and comedian recently moved from Chicago to Kalamazoo, Michigan, but that hasn’t dulled her laserlike wit. She writes about recalibrating friendships with her old drinking buddies who are now into suburban mom-hood and traveling to Nashville to scatter her father’s ashes.


Features Editor