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Ten top beach reads

Forget the lovely view: you won't be able to take your eyes off our selection of 2013's best page-turners

books_The Ocean at the End of the Lane_Neil Gaiman

'The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman

A lot happened in the eight-year gap between this and Neil Gaiman’s last adult novel, most notably profile-rocketing ventures into cinema with ‘Stardust’ and ‘Coraline’. The hype could easily have sunk ‘The Ocean…’, but instead it demonstrates Gaiman’s knack for picking apart and preying on our juvenile fears. Fantasy for people who don’t read fantasy.

Click here to buy 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane’

books_The Cuckoo’s Calling_Robert Galbraith

‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ by Robert Galbraith

We all know by now which literary wizard wrote this, but if she hadn’t been outed, would you have guessed? In a bid to escape the pressure of post-Potter expectation, JK Rowling hid behind pen name ‘Robert Galbraith’ for her first foray into crime writing. It seems to have done the trick, allowing her to write this genuinely thrilling, gripping detective tale set in London.

                                                       Click here to buy ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’

books_The Reason I Jump_Naoki Higashida

‘The Reason I Jump’ by Naoki Higashida

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was 13 (the writer is now in his twenties), this book reveals the inner experience of a boy born with a severe form of autism. Higashida was locked in a world of silence before being introduced to an alphabet grid which allowed him to spell out words and share the isolating, sometimes devastating experience of his condition. An enlightening read.

                                                       Click here to buy ‘The Reason I Jump’

Books_The Universe Versus Alex Woods_Gavin Extence

'The Universe Versus Alex Woods’ by Gavin Extence

Being hit by a meteor at ten and having a psychic single mum makes Alex a rather unusual boy. This charming, moving story follows his unusual journey into adulthood.

Click here to buy 'The Universe Versus Alex Woods'

books_Joyland_Stephen King

‘Joyland’ by Stephen King

Has there ever been a setting better suited to the macabre penmanship of the great Stephen King than a creaking, middle-America amusement park? A supernatural whodunit with a wonderfully pulpy edge.

Click here to buy 'Joyland'

books_Vampires in the Lemon Grove_Karen Russell

‘Vampires in the Lemon Grove’ by Karen Russell

A collection of short stories ranging from the surreal to the really surreal, this follow-up to the American novelist’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated novel ‘Swamplandia!’ delivers everything from reincarnated American presidents to a sports tournament for sea creatures.

Click here to buy 'Vampires in the Lemon Grove'

books_One Step Too Far_Tina Seskis

‘One Step Too Far’ by Tina Seskis

On occasion, haven’t we all wanted to ditch our responsibilities, change our name and run off into a new life? Emily (or is it Catherine?) takes the plunge in this smartly written thriller.

Click here to buy 'One Step Too Far'

books_‘Big Brother_Lionel Shriver

‘Big Brother’ by Lionel Shriver

Unsurprisingly, this book by the author of ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ isn’t brimming with sunshine. Still, there are no psychopathic teens in a story about a woman coming to terms with her brother’s life-threatening obesity.

Click here to buy 'Big Brother’

books_Unseen_Karin Slaughter

‘Unseen’ by Karin Slaughter

This fast-paced tale takes Detective Trent on an undercover mission to the Deep South, and the plot has more twists and turns than a tornado. 

Click here to buy 'Unseen'

books_Bones of the Lost_Kathy Reichs

‘Bones of the Lost’ by Kathy Reichs

Peruvian dog mummies, an airline club card and a dead teenage girl are among the unlikely elements in this rollercoaster read which sees Dr Temperance Brennan kick forensic-anthropological-ass. 

Click here to buy 'Bones of the Lost'

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