Favorite cross-genre beach reads

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This post first appeared August 7 at https://allyshields.com/blog.html

A page-turning thriller? A transportive historical? Or an atmospheric fantasy in a frozen landscape to distract you from the heat and humidity? Defining the perfect beach read is a highly personal endeavor. Here are some of my all-time favorites that include shore locations from a variety of genres:


Adrift by Micki Browning, Thriller

This is the award-winning first-in-series volume in the Mer Cavallo mysteries featuring marine biologist–turned-divemaster Meredith Cavallo. Mer thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze. But when she rescues a floundering diver who claims to have seen a ghost, she’s caught in a storm of intrigue. News of the encounter explodes on social media, attracting a team of ghost hunters who want to capture proof that a greenish ghoul haunts Key Largo’s famed USS Spiegel Grove shipwreck. 

A terrific setting, thrilling suspense, and an investigation confidently revealed by FBI-trained former law-enforcement officer Micki Browning.


Cliff Hanger by Mary Feliz. Mystery

Professional Organizer Maggie McDonald has her work cut out for her helping Renée Alvarez organize her property management office. Though the condominium complex boasts a prime location on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, aging buildings and the high-maintenance tenants have Renée run ragged. But Maggie’s efforts are complicated when her sons attempt to rescue a badly injured man who crashed his ultra-light on the coastal cliffs. Despite their efforts to save him, the man dies. Maggie's family members become the prime suspects in a murder investigation and the target of a lawsuit. This is the fifth volume in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series the first of which, Address to Die For, was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews.



Dance upon the Air by Nora Roberts. Paranormal Romance

The first book in the Three Sisters Island trilogy by blockbuster author Nora Roberts takes place on off the Massachusetts coast. Nell Channing, on the run from her abusive husband, takes a job as cook at the local bookstore café and takes an interest in the handsome local sheriff. Adjusting to her dramatic shift in circumstances is more than enough to keep Nell busy, but she soon uncovers an ancient island curse that only she, with the help of two others, can hope to break.



Pacific Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson. Science Fiction

Better known for his Mars Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson earlier wrote his Three California trilogy about a near-future Golden State. Published in 1995, Pacific Coast concludes the three-volume story with an ecotopian vision of a pastoral community at peace, but under pressure from outside influences to evolve toward a darker future.



High Tide at Noon by Elisabeth Ogilvie. Mainstream Fiction

First published in 1944, this book is an old favorite, read and re-read. It’s the first of dozens of books unveiling the unique challenges and delights of island families in Maine. Joanna Bennett yearns to follow family tradition and become a lobsterman and captain her own boat. But there’s one problem. She’s a girl. Each of Ogilvie’s novels allows readers to explore the rugged island and meet more of the family and its neighbors. While today it might be described as women’s fiction or a cozy mystery, it offers the same depth of setting and characterization as the popular Louise Penny novels.

Whatever book or genre you choose, enjoy your time at the beach and between the pages of your favorite novel. May the sun shine brightly and the humidity be low!

Mary Feliz