Summer Reading (Early Noir Edition)

photo by Derek Pell

A recent trip to the B&N in Santa Rosa inspired this post. The bookstore’s Art Deco façade fairly screams film noir and makes you want to crawl into bed with a good book. After all, northern California is noir heaven, and when the fog rolls in I scamper into my library.

The Rain in Cain


I started my summer reading early with The Night Season.

Chelsea Cain sure knows how to stir up a storm. She wrings out every last drop of suspense her downpour has to offer. She transforms Portland into a soggy nightmare.  Indeed, the relentless rain and subsequent flood is a central character in her latest novel. To make matters worse for the city, there’s a serial killer on the loose.

With a few deft details, Cain creates a perfect storm—oppressive and claustrophobic—and a tale that will keep you reading till dawn.


Order it here on Amazon.


Another mystery destined to make a splash this summer is Heads You Lose.


Since I happen to love Lisa Lutz and her Spellman series, I snapped up this collaboration with her ex-boyfriend David Hayward. It seems David & Lisa are quite the offbeat couple; a slightly demented Nick and Nora Charles.

The duo took turns writing chapters and devised the plot as they went along. In less skilled hands this  could easily have backfired, but they’ve produced a delightful escapist mystery (just bring your own hammock). Heads You Lose includes an additional experimental angle as the collaboration itself becomes part of the story—a very amusing part—with  their notes to each other appearing at the end of each chapter. There are even some hilariously snide footnotes.

Consider this tale of a headless corpse a two-headed, twisty magical mystery trip to  the meth labs and pot farms of northern California. Mercer, anyone? It’s a nice place to visit in a book but you don’t want to live there (and neither do the authors). In fact the characters are a lot like David and Lisa and maybe, just maybe, that ’the point.

Then again, I may be clueless, but this novel made me laugh my head off.

Order it here on Amazon.


So start making your own summer reading  list. I’ll be adding more titles here soon.

Here’s a shot of Lucy and my wife sharing a coffee table book in Santa Rosa.

photo by Derek Pell

Happy Friday the 13th!