Every Fourth of July, hoards of happy bookworms head to one of America's beautiful sandy beaches, new novel in hand. If you are one of the lucky ones who plan to spend the holiday having fun in the sun, make sure to grab one of these mystery paperbacks perfect for your beach bag. Trust me when I tell you, there is no company better than a good book at the beach.
I'm a firm believer that a beach read is simply any book that you read at — you guessed it! — the beach. Still, there are certain genres that lend themselves to perfect seaside reading, including mystery books. There is just something about their suspense, their intrigue, and their thrills that make you want to hunker down in the sand, turning the pages until you've discovered whodunit. Even better is when the book is a paperback you don't mind getting wet or trapping sand inside, one that you can bend to comfortable read at any angle.
Ready to soak up the sun and some vitamin S-E-A? Then put on your sunscreen, grab your towel, and head to the beach, but not without one of these nine mystery paperbacks that are perfect for your beach bag.
'Into the Water' by Paula Hawkins
In this bestselling psychological suspense novel from The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins, two local women — a young teenage girl and a single mother — turn up dead at the bottom of a river that runs through the town. They aren't the first to meet the notorious watery grave, and unless the daughter and friend they left behind can figure out who was responsible for their deaths, they won't be the last either. A dark and twisty tale with an ending you won't see coming, Into the Water is essential beach reading.
'A Stranger in the House' by Shari Lapena
In this intense domestic thriller, the secrets inside the home are even scarier than what lurks outside. Karen and Tom seem to have the perfect life, but everything changes when Karen is involved in a strange car accident she cannot remember. But back at home, things seem different, changed, or as if someone is inside the house, and Karen and Tom are left wondering how much they really know about each other. A Stranger in the House is a juicy mystery readers can sink their teeth into.
'The Tuscan Child' by Rhys Bowen
In this expertly plotted mystery novel, a heartbroken woman sets out to uncover the truth of her estranged father's past. A startling letter left in his personal effects lead her to Tuscany, where she finds that not everyone is ready to reveal the truth. Smart and utterly surprising, The Tuscan Child makes for great company at the beach.
'Who Is Vera Kelly?' by Rosalie Knecht
In this gripping spy thriller, a young woman struggling to make her way in Greenwich Village's gay scene is recruited by the CIA and tasked infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires during the Cold War. But when her precarious situation in South America goes from bad to worse, Vera is left stranded in the middle of a dangerous conflict that forces her to find out what she's willing to do to survive. A fascinating page-turner and an observant coming-of-age tale, Who Is Vera Kelly? is the perfect spy story.
'Behind Her Eyes' by Sarah Pinborough
In this twisted thriller, a single mother finds herself caught up in a dangerous love triangle with a married couple who are nothing like they appear to be. She knows there is something wrong in their relationship, but even in the darkest corner of her imagination, she couldn't fathom the truth. A sizzling mystery unlike anything you've ever read, Behind Her Eyes is a masterpiece.
'The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye' by David Lagercrantz
Everyone's favorite tattooed cyber sleuth is back in the latest installment of the Millennium series, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye. This time, Lisbeth Salander is serving time, and it doesn't take long for her to become the target of one of the prison's most dangerous gangs after she stands up for a young Bangladeshi prisoner they attacked. To make matters more complicated, her Mikael Blomkvist thinks the girl was the subject of a secret experiment, and neither he nor Lisbeth can resist hunting down the truth. Fast-paced and action-packed, fans will love this latest addition to the beloved series.
'Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder' edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
In this collection of these 40 crime stories, some of the genre's best authors, including Amelia Gray, Brian Evenson, Laura van den Berg, Carmen Maria Machado, and many more present very short but very satisfying tales of mystery, villainy, and murder. The perfect companion in between dips in the ocean, this is a must-read for crime fans.
'The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche' by M.L. Longworth
In the seventh installment in M.L. Longworth's A Provençal Mystery series, a scandalous author moves to the outskirts of town into a home that may or may not be haunted. Called to investigate are Verlaque and Bonnet, who are tasked with figuring out whether the ghosts the author has seen are, a figment of his imagination, or something much more sinister. A fun and evocative mystery, The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche is best read beach-side with a glass of French wine in hand.
'Dark Matter' by Blake Crouch
In this surprising sci-fi mystery, one man discovers his life might not be what he thought it was. At least, not in this dimension. A genre-bending novel, Dark Matter combines a riveting mystery with a touching love story and a healthy dose of science fiction to create the ultimate beach read.