Summer Bleeds, er, Reads

A warm breeze blows, the ocean is lulling, and the sun is shining, leaving you pretty safe from stuff that goes bump in the night. On this rare occasion, where we’re pretty sure you won’t get gotten by somethin’ scary, bone up on paranormal fiction. Check our our picks, and share yours.

When The Wind Blows (James Patterson)
Patterson does his genre good by adding paraworld flair to typical detective/baddie plotlines. Widowed vet Frannie sees strange things, like winged children running through the forests of Colorado. With help from FBI agent Kit, they catch the child, who spills about the diabolical institution in the woods where she was created. Sounds flighty, but it’s a solid, thrilling read. (If you’ve got a mini-me, stuff The Angel Experiment in his beach bag, Patterson’s similar-themed ‘tween take.)

A Monster’s Notes
(Laura Sheck)

Sheck puts a new spin on an old-school monster yarn: Mary Shelley didn’t make up the story of Frankenstein — rather, the creature actually visited her when she was little. The monster survives into the 21st century, and while weaving the story of the Shelley family (plus fictional characters), it experiences a doozy of an identity crisis. If you crave a quick beach read, this isn’t it, but if you’re looking for more than just a monster under the bed, you got it.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre (Amanda Grange)
Jane Austen and vampires are so en vogue, it was only a matter of time. The book doesn’t drop until August, but it sounds worth the wait: This Pride and Prejudice sequel goes to the dark side when an ancient family curse comes to light and Elizabeth Bennet learns the truth about her dear Mr.Darcy. Genre overkill? Maybe, but considering Seth Grahame-Smith’s irresistibly fun Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we’ll take it. (The Austen/vamp vein opens two-fold in December, when Darcy’s Hunger and Jane Bites Back hit the shelves.)

The Mercy of Thin Air
(Ronlyn Domingue)

By writing this, I risk blowing my most coveted secret, but ghosties, this one’s for you. Meet Raziella, a 1920s woman who, in the throes of a passionate affair with college love Andrew, dies an unlikely death and is forced to dwell “in between” for decades. Adapting to this new realm, she learns she can still meddle in the affairs of humans—especially a young couple who’s home she haunts, and who share a mysterious bond to Andrew. If you dug The Lovely Bones, try this. Trust us.

The Strain
(Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan)

Yes, that Guillermo Del Toro. He and Hogan join forces to reign down upon the world a fiery, epic, apocalyptic, good-old-fashioned horror read that pits vampire against man. There will be voluminous blood, rampaging viruses, spooky mythology and a quickly decreasing countdown to the destruction of humankind. What there will not be are sparkly vamps, googly-eyed teenagers, vegetarians and pieces of flair. Act fast on Strain—it’s book one of a trilogy ...and really, how will this not make the leap to the big screen?

—amy kates