While traveling abroad in Spain this summer, I found myself in a reversed role. I no longer wanted to come home from school and “veg” out to the television; watching television in another language required way too much thinking.
I found relaxation in books, and read more this summer than I have in the past year. Here are a few, whether you’ve heard of them or not, that are entertaining and deserve a recommendation. At least, I think so.
The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
These 11 novels revolve around a clumsy female bounty hunter who always finds herself in the midst of trouble. The first book, “One for the Money,” was first published in 1994, and the most recent “Eleven on Top” was published in 2005. All books incorporate elements of humor, mystery and sex, steamy enough that you want to turn the pages, but not so cheesy as the monthly mini-romance novel in the back of Cosmopolitan. Stephanie Plum is a character many can relate to: awkward but with the desire to be sexy. Recent rumors whisper of a movie based off the series with Sandra Bullock playing the lead.
“Velocity” by Dean Koontz
As I quickly ran out of English-language books to read, this was one of the few I was able to find in Spain printed in English. Published in 2005, this murder-mystery leaves the reader with shivers reminiscent to those they may get after watching “Silence of the Lambs.”
The story revolves around a young bartender, Billy Wiles, who lives alone while his fianc/ survives on an eating tube after suffering brain damage that threw her into a coma. The action starts when Billy finds a note on his car: “If you don’t take this note to the police. I will kill a lovely blonde schoolteacher. If you do. I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have six hours to decide. The choice is yours.”
“Velocity” will keep you thrilled and terrified. Koontz also does a wonderful job of making such a morbid mystery so poetic, intertwining quotes from Charles Dickens in an almost eerie sense. If you like terror, this is a must read.
Verve editor Hallie Woods can be reached at email@example.com