"Beach Money," by Preston Pairo Hardcover, 176 pages, 1991
Other beach reads"The Beach House," by James Patterson
Setting: The Hamptons, Long Island, N.Y.
Murder and revenge among the filthy rich
"Colony," by Anne Rivers Siddons
Setting: Maine coast
A Southern woman marries a rich Bostonian and spends her summers at his family's vacation retreat.
"Dog Lot," by Dennis Gimmel
Setting: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Retired U.S. Postal Service employee and part-time detective haplessly searches for a missing woman
"Gidget," by Frederick Kohner
Setting: Malibu, Calif.
Gutsy teen-age girl crashes all-male surf scene and becomes pop icon
"Making Waves," (series) by Katherine Applegate
Setting: Ocean City, Md.
Genre: Teen/Young adult
11-book series follows the loves, losses and laughs of young couples who first meet at the Maryland shore
"Reed's Beach," by Bret Lott
Setting: Cape May, N.J.
A couple retreats to a beach cottage to mourn their son and examine their marriage.
"Stormy Weather," by Carl Hiassen
Setting: Miami, Fla.
Tourists, murderers, eccentrics and a crazed environmental hermit come out to play in the wake of a hurricane.
"The Summerhouse," by Jude Deveraux
On turning 40, four women reexamine their lives and the choices they made.
"Shore Stories: An Anthology of the Jersey Shore," edited by Richard Youmans
Setting: New Jersey
Genre: Short fiction
Short stories mean you don't have to interrupt critical plot lines to take a dip.
"Summer Sisters," by Judy Blume
Setting: Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
Two girls meet on Martha's Vineyard and forge a lifelong friendship.--Alexis Sweeney
Summer FunFor more summer fun, see , SunSpot's golf guide and Beach bargains: outlet shopping.
"Cape Mayhem," by Jane Kelly Paperback, 248 pages, 1999
Single and smart-alecky Meg Daniels wins a romantic getaway for two and decides to go it alone. Upon arrival at the Parsonage Bed & Breakfast, she observes that "couples secluded for a romantic week in Cape May welcome single women with the same warmth drug lords secluded for a summit reserve for DEA agents." Meg quickly suspects that there is something amiss with one of the vacationing couples and enlists innkeeper George to help her investigate. The story is well crafted and often surprising and the heroine is witty, smart and tenacious. Kelly captures the essence of Victorian Cape May so well that even newcomers will feel as though they've been vacationing there for years.
If you enjoy "Mayhem," you might try another of Kelly's books. In "Killing Time in Ocean City," Meg's beach vacation is interrupted when her boss' body turns up in a nearby swamp. Meg and her beau Andy investigate a murder and dodge a manipulative ex-wife in Kelly's "Wrong Beach Island."
"Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence," by Michael Capuzzo Paperback, 368 pages, 2001
Just as the release of "Jaws" kept paranoid swimmers out of the ocean in 1976, "Close to Shore" will root squeamish readers firmly to the sand. The book recounts the summer of 1916, when the first known attacks by a great white shark along the New Jersey coast took place. But the book is more than just a shark's tale. It is a commentary on a nation at the edge of a precipice. German U-boats prowled the U.S. coast and entry into World War I was imminent. At the beach, suffragettes bared their arms and knees in the quest for equality. Through it all, the great white symbolized all that is scary and uncertain in the world. For another account of the infamous attacks, check out Richard Fernicola's "Twelve Days of Terror: A Definitive Investigation of the 1916 New Jersey Shark Attacks."
"The Lost Legends of New Jersey," by Frederick Reiken Paperback, 336 pages, 2000
In this funny coming-of-age story, New Jersey teen Anthony Rubin tackles his own emotions and the complexities of his sometimes dysfunctional, sometimes lovable Jewish family. Anthony's father is a philanderer, his mother is neurotic, his 78-year-old grandfather is in love with a nursing home pal, and Anthony himself pines for the teen-age sexpot daughter of the gangster next door. Parts of the story are set on the Jersey Shore. One scene even relives the famous New Jersey "syringe tide" incident, when a load of illegally dumped medical waste washed ashore in Monmouth and Ocean counties in 1987.
"Lucy Peale," by Colby Rodowsky
Paperback, 167 pages, 1994
This is a heartwarming and didactic story for young adults. After she is raped, 17-year-old Lucy learns she is pregnant. Her unforgiving preacher father refuses to listen to the details and gives Lucy two choices: Confess her sins before his congregation or get out. Lucy flees to Ocean City, Md., where she sleeps under the boardwalk. Soon, she befriends kindhearted, sensitive Jake, the quintessential too-good-to-be true hero. Lucy finds work and moves into Jake's apartment. The two eventually fall in love and plan to marry. During all of this, Lucy discovers what possibilities exist outside of her father's provincial world. This is an inspirational story of a young woman who, despite hardships, grows strong with the help of others.
"Murder Down the Shore: A Jersey Shore Mystery," by Beth Sherman Paperback, 256 pages, 2002
This is the fifth in Sherman's Jersey Shore Mystery series starring Anne Hardaway, a struggling ghostwriter of popular do-it-yourself books who lives in the pious Oceanside Heights. Anne's family reunion turns out to be the last time any of the Hardaways see great-aunt Hannah, who is found viciously stabbed to death by one of Anne's kitchen knives. Sherman throws in a $50 million inheritance, a few red herrings and some shady relatives to create a true beach read.
Also in the Jersey Shore Mystery series are "Dead Man's Float," "Death at High Tide," "Death's a Beach," and "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea."
"Notes from the Shore," by Jennifer Ackerman Paperback, 208 pages, 1995
Reading "Notes from the Shore" is like taking a long walk with an introspective and articulate friend. Ackerman, a Midwesterner who lived in Lewes, Del., for three years, creates a communion with the natural world that combines science and description with personal observation and reflection. Her nine reflective essays explore how the landscape shapes our thoughts and perceptions. Ackerman studies the habits of shorebirds and seabirds, and observes the annual mating ritual of horseshoe crabs. At low tide, she probes the tidal flats for mud worms. And, against nature's rhythm, she revisits her mother's death, her father's illness and her hopes to have children of her own.
"Outer Banks," by Anne Rivers Siddons Paperback, 576 pages, 1992
Part Southern Gothic thriller, part histrionic melodrama, this novel reunites four college sorority sisters at their former spring break haunt on the North Carolina coast. But complex relationships and long-held resentments lie beneath the surface of this seemingly friendly reunion. Kate is a cancer patient who is contemplating suicide and is still in love with Paul, who dumped her for rich sorority sister Ginger. Once-dorky Georgina is a best-selling romance novelist who still carries a torch for Kate. Cecie was Kate's best friend, but the two haven't spoken in 30 years. What starts out as a simple rehashing of the past grinds toward a surprising climax that, despite its implausibility, keeps you turning the pages.
"People of the Mist," by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear Paperback, 553 pages, 1998
You will forget all of your stress with this novel, set in the 14th century among the Algonquian people of the Chesapeake Bay region. This book is part of the popular First North Americans series written by prize-winning archaeologists. It combines murder, history, native culture, politics, love and lust in the story of an arranged marriage that threatens to tear two tribes apart. When Red Knot is brutally murdered the night before her wedding, all heads turn toward a man who bore a passionate, obsessive love for her but was not her intended. A suspenseful mystery develops.
"Sabbatical: A Romance," by John Barth Paperback, 366 pages, 1996
Those who have read the work of postmodern author John Barth probably would not associate him with light beach reading. But "Sabbatical" is accessible to burned-out, vacationing brains. It is the down-to-earth tale of an American literature professor and her CIA agent-turned-author husband who take a sailing sabbatical on the Chesapeake Bay. The expected -- an appraisal of their seven-year marriage and plenty of storms -- mingles with the mythical characteristics (a fabled sea monster) that are inherent to Barth's other work. Although "Sabbatical" may not display the quintessential Barth that scholars have been dissecting for decades, it is a well-written, enjoyable piece of fiction from one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.