Step. Step. Step. Each time his shoe hit the ground his pace increased until he was all out running. A worn out black and red duffel bag hung from his shoulder. One of his hands held firmly to the canvas strap so as not to lose the bag and it’s precious contents. Sweat streamed down his forehead as he glanced from side to side at the miles of hot white sand. The ocean stretched out in front of him as he continued forward. Suddenly he stopped and looked around. He leaned over as he caught his breath. No one had followed him. He was certain. As he turned to look back behind him this was confirmed. There was no one else on the sprawling beach. The man at the small beachfront shop had been right about this place being a “best kept secret”. He ran his hand through his damp brown hair and wondered how many others had come to this very spot. This perfect spot.
Convinced his privacy was secure he unzipped the bag and pulled out a striped orange turkish blanket. The fringes at the edge brushed against his bare leg. He laid out the blanket and made himself comfortable.
This was vacation for him. A clear day, a good book and solitude.
Then he heard the sound. A fleeting sense of dread flowed through him. He tried to control his breathing in hopes that he wouldn’t be discovered but it was too late. He heard quiet footsteps in the sand behind him and turned. He should have know he would find him. He turned and looked over his shoulder and instantly everything changed for him. Did he really want to get away from him for a few hours. A tiny voice called out to him, “Daddy, I got my book too. We can read together.” The father smiled back at his five year old son then reached into his bag and pulled out a brand new book by his favorite author. “That sounds great!” He realized he meant it.
This was vacation for him. A clear day, a good book and his son by his side.
Do you have some spare time this summer? Do you love reading?
I love reading almost as much as I love writing. And I wish I could say that I have an abundance of time to invest in summer reading. Unfortunately, my days are usually jam packed. But I do have an issue with insomnia. I don’t know how to turn off my brain. It’s a writer thing.
So, if I’m going to be awake anyway I might as well make the most of it. Although, I often find myself thinking about things I am currently working on as I toss and turn I’ve tried to discipline myself to not get up and start writing (unless it’s something I know I need to get down on paper right then. It does happen). Instead I like to grab a good book and get lost in it. I personally love suspenseful stories. I’m currently reading some new releases like The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker (So far I’m hooked – which I always am with his books). But when I’m reading at night I will pull books I haven’t read for awhile off the shelf. The reasoning is the hope that reading something familiar will help me fall asleep. And if I already know the story I won’t get frustrated if I can’t remember the last paragraph I read because I was dozing off. it
Now, I realize the thought of reading something a bit scary in the middle of the night can seem a bit foolish. This is why I chose something where I already know the outcome. Also, I’ve never been the type to get frightened by books or movies so it really isn’t an issue for me anyway.
Suspense can come in many forms and this list doesn’t focus in on one type of suspense, like crime thrillers or something. This list includes science fiction, political, fantasy, etc. So let’s get started.
My Top Five Suspense Novels to Re-read Late at Night
- 2003 – Blink by Ted Dekker – This was one of those suspense thrillers I couldn’t put down. Without giving too much away, it’s about a genius ( I mean literally as in super high IQ) who ends up with a gift of being able to see multiple futures and their outcomes at once. He winds up on the run with a Saudi Arabian woman who is in a life or death situation. You’ll just have to read it for yourself because I don’t want to give any spoilers. As stated, this book was originally published in 2003 and later re-titled and republished later as Blink of an Eye. Here’s an interesting tidbit of info – since this book was released Nicolas Cage made a movie titled NEXT with a similar premise and anyone who saw the recent Avengers: Infinity War will recall a moment when one of the heroes uses a similar ability. All this to say, Mr. Dekker was ahead of the times.
- 1996 – Double Helix – by Sigmund Brouwer – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book. I had left it at a vacation place my family used to go to every year and so it became a tradition to read it almost every summer. Any of you science nerds out there will put together that this book most likely has something to with genetics, but that’s all I’m going to tell you. Just be prepared for some edge of your seat scenarios and characters you really care about in situations that are a bit over the top, but that’s what makes it fun.
- 1997 – One False Move by T Davis Bunn – This is definitely an oldie but goodie. The story surrounds the world of virtual reality and psychosomatic drugs. It’s as relevant today, with the advancements made in the video game world, as it was back when it first came out. With movies like “Ready Player One” bringing attention to this arena this may be a good book to give your teen who loves the world of video games. Plenty of heart pounding threats and suspense to keep the reader engaged. Check it out.
- 2011 – The Testament by John Grisham – Written nearly twenty years ago, this story follows a lawyer (I mean of course the hero is a lawyer – this is John Grisham after all) who is having to track down the daughter of an extremely wealthy businessman who has left everything he has to her. This book doesn’t rely on creating adrenaline rushes, but there is plenty at stake and we get to see our unlikely hero make a life changing journey. Who doesn’t like that?
- 2003 – The Oath by Frank Peretti – Peretti is known for his supernatural thrillers like “This Present Darkness”( also a great suspenseful novel). But this book leans more toward horror suspense and is one of my all time favorite books of any genre. I guess you would call it an allegory. It’s all about how we hide the dark areas of our lives and the terrible impact that has on our hearts. It’s a monster story that has a powerful twist.
I easily could have just listed these writers instead of specific novels because all of their books are great. But I wanted to be more intentional and mention stories that may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Let me know if there is another genre of book you would like to hear my thoughts on. I love them all, historical, romance, science fiction, biographies, etc.
What are your favorite suspense novels? Share them in the comments. Let’s create a conversation about great books.
Until Next Time…
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